Condé Nast Will Put Every Single Publication Behind a Paywall By Year’s End

Condé Nast Will Put Every Single Publication Behind a Paywall By Year’s End

Excerpts from an article by Laura Stampler in Fortune

Readers used to freely consuming online articles on Condé Nast publications—from Glamour to GQ, Bon Appétit to Architectural Digest—will have to start paying up by the end of 2019.

The magazine publisher announced Wednesday that it will put all of its U.S. titles behind digital paywalls.

Pamela Drucker Mann, Condé Nast’s chief revenue and marketing officer, told The Wall Street Journal, that she advocated for the move towards metered paywalls, and that she doesn’t expect any impacted titles to lose its digital audience. “When you put a price tag on something, that must mean you have confidence in the product,” said Drucker Mann to the Journal, which was the first to report the move.

Condé Nast already has titles including The New Yorker, Wired, and Vanity Fair behind their own metered paywalls that don’t allow readers to access more than four articles a month unless they subscribe to the publication.

Read the full article in Fortune

Netflix is testing cheaper mobile-only subscription tiers

Netflix is testing cheaper mobile-only subscription tiers

Excerpts from the article by Julia Alexander on The Verge

The number of people who use mobile devices as a primary option to stream Netflix is growing worldwide, which makes it no surprise that the company is reportedly testing a new payment plan specifically targeting mobile users.

A report from Malaysian newspaper The Star says that Netflix is exploring a mobile-only subscription plan that would cut the membership cost by approximately 50 percent. Phones and tablets account for 35 percent of global Netflix signups, according to a report from Recode earlier this year. The growth of mobile Netflix users, especially in countries where mobile usage outpaces time spent watching traditional TV or time on a computer, is constant.

Cameron Johnson, Netflix’s director of product innovation, said in July that 60 percent of members around the world now open Netflix’s mobile app at least once a month to watch a TV show or movie. Part of Netflix’s product plan includes creating better tools for mobile users who can now download TV shows for offline viewing. The company is leaning into customers who want to spend more time on their phones and tablets, and it’s seemingly introducing a cheaper tier specifically for those customers.


Right now, it appears Netflix is testing these new tiers in international markets. That makes sense considering mobile usage as a primary option for browsing and consuming entertainment is increasingly popular in Asian and East Asian countries. Mobile-first continents, like Asia and Africa, are seeing the biggest increase in consistent mobile users, according to a study from earlier this year. While mobile usage continues to expand and grow in the United States — 77 percent of Americans use smartphone devices, according to a Pew report from this year — it’s still not as big of a market.

Netflix also wants to expand its reach in international markets since that’s where the biggest concentration of growth is. Nearly 79 million of Netflix’s total of 137 million subscribers are international, according to a recent earnings report. Offering cheaper plans targeted at primary mobile users is a way to increase that growth.

The Verge has reached out to Netflix to see if there are plans to bring mobile-specific subscription tiers to the United States.

Torstar to move to a subscription model, charge readers for online news

Excerpts from the article by Emily Jackson on Financial Post

Torstar to move to a subscription model, charge readers for online news

Torstar Corp. plans to charge readers for online news once more in its latest strategy to recover after the internet disrupted the newspaper industry.

Chief executive John Boynton announced Wednesday that the media company, owner of the Toronto Star and dozens of other publications, will move to a digital subscription business model, emulating recurring revenue models in industries such as music and entertainment.

“In some cases, it turned around entire industries,” Boynton said at the annual general meeting in Toronto, pointing to Spotify and Netflix as success stories.

Boynton did not reveal details on the subscription model, including when it will launch or how much it will cost, but said it will apply to the Toronto Star and StarMetro brands. The Globe and Mail and the National Post already use online subscription models.

This marks the Star’s second foray into charging for access to online content. In August 2013, it launched a paywall that asked readers to subscribe for $9.99 per month. It dumped the paywall less than two years later because it couldn’t get enough people to sign up. It subsequently launched subscriptions for Star Touch, a tablet app, but axed that product after sinking $23 million into the experiment.

But Boynton, who was hired last spring to help the company transition to digital, is convinced it will work this time thanks to better technology, shifting attitudes and leadership changes.

Read the full article on Financial Post

Why subscription sports sites have scored early wins

Excerpts from the article by Max Willens on Digiday

As publishers cast about for reader revenue in a tough digital ad market, many are finding that local sports coverage, which attracts especially passionate, engaged readers, is a good game to be in. For that reason, sports has emerged as a critical test case for the proposition the future of digital news lies in reader revenue rather than advertising.

The most prominent player in the space is $48-a-year subscription-based outlet The Athletic, which claims 100,000 subscribers and just closed a $20 million funding round led by Evolution Media, bringing the total amount of capital it’s raised to $30 million. Elsewhere, there’s DK Pittsburgh Sports and the 7-month-old Boston Sports Journal, which charge up to $35 for a year’s subscription. Hook ‘Em, a paywalled sports product that the Austin American-Statesman launched in 2015, claimed 16,000 digital subscribers in the third quarter of last year, costing $3.99 a week in a bundle with its parent paper.

Their growth is also an encouraging sign for publishers who hope to focus on consumer revenue rather than advertising.

“One thing that’s abundantly clear in our industry is that free is not a business model,” said Todd Dybas, one of the co-founders of The Sports Capitol, a Washington, D.C.-focused subscription site that launched this March.

Read the full article on Digiday

BMW and Mercedes-Benz Will Also Try Out Subscriptions

Excerpts from an article by Zac Estrada on The Verge

Not to be left out by rivals, BMW and Mercedes-Benz appear to be joining the world of automotive subscription models that cover all of the fees required with car ownership or leasing under one payment.

Both BMW and Mercedes are expected to announce pilot programs for a subscription service that covers not only car payments, but maintenance and insurance, Automotive News reported on Tuesday. They would join the likes of Audi, Cadillac, and Porsche in offering customers a simplified payment structure and the flexibility to swap to a newer car sooner than a traditional lease or finance plan, or a higher-quality vehicle than a daily rental from the airport. BMW Group and Daimler, Mercedes’ parent company, already run car-sharing firms.

“We are in the phase of looking at it and evaluating together with BMW Financial Services,” BMW of North America CEO Bernhard Kuhnt told the publication this week at the Detroit Auto Show. “And if we are going to do it, we are going to pilot it first to learn more about it.”

Read the full article on The Verge