Substack announced Monday that it has more than a million paid publishing subscriptions on its platform – or, as the company said, “a million have reason to believe this opportunity is greater than anyone expected.” According to NiemanLab, Substack now has twice as many subscriptions as it claimed 10 months ago and four times more than in December 2020. “These are subscriptions that did not exist before – they are not sifted from traditional media or redistributed from other platforms,” Substack wrote. “They represent a rush of new money into the media ecosystem, and most of it goes directly to the authors.”
A newsletter platform that high profile writers like Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and Matt Yglesias, advertised the achievement as a confirmation that “people are are willing to pay for authors they trust “and” new types of publications that serve previously neglected communities butter succeed. ”The top 10 newsletters together earn more than $ 20 million a year, co-founder Hamish McKenzie taken into account. Somewhat points out that a million subscribers does not mean a million subscribers. “Paying subscribers account for a fraction – about 5-10% – of Substack’s total readership,” the outlet reports, and more than 500,000 people out of “millions of active readers” pay for at least one Substack.
Almost a year ago, my colleagues Joe Pompeo wrote that “despite all of Substack’s visionary harsh talk, it’s hard to imagine a mass exodus – at least on a voluntary basis – of large media organizations” because “flat pay is still flat pay and still has some meaning in telling the source you’re calling about New York times, the Atlantic, or Politico. “While journalists from major media companies have certainly not rushed out, industry turnover has been high since then. Charlie Warzel, one, jumped Times substack Atlantic, which is one of the old media outlets to launch paid newsletter programs in response to the Substack boom. In a recent post announcing he was leaving Substack, Warzel said he had amassed more than 1,400 paying subscribers in seven months on the platform and admitted the move was less lucrative than he had hoped. By taking his newsletter Atlantic, he stated that he can “once again collaborate within the organization while I have my own small scratchpad where I can do my things”.
Such an option, Axios Sara Fischer and Nicholas Johnston writes, there were many and rarely on mainstream platforms before the somewhat recent move to Substack, a trend whose “threat to newsrooms was exaggerated” but which “has finally put pressure on newsrooms to create programs that give writers more pay, autonomy and flexibility.” In the changing environment of digital media, old publishers look resilient: Times earlier this year, a handful of subscribers only published newsletters, some of which were written by other authors.Times employees; the paid newsletter platform Forbes, which debuted in January, allows authors to share newsletter subscription revenue with a 50/50 publisher; the Atlantic‘s newsletter program that matters Molly Jong-Fast and Nicole Chung among its nine authors, offers contractors “the opportunity to earn extra money if they achieve certain subscriber goals,” according to Vox; and Information just revealed newsletter network.
As traditional publishers adapt to the newsletter trend, new players will apparently notice rising hybrid options that have pulled journalists like Warzel back into the newsroom. “The newsletter boom is creating new platforms that serve content producers looking for a happy middle ground between newsroom support and independence,” Fischer and Johnston cite start-ups Led and Workweek as recent examples.
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