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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - February 2021

Paid-for strategies: Defining what people pay for

One of the most exciting things we have seen over the past 10 years is the shift towards a greater willingness to pay. We see this across all levels of journalism, from the largest newspapers with massive subscription strategies, to very small independent creators asking people to pay via Patreon or other platforms... all of them have a much easier time converting people than anything we saw 10 years ago.

However, what we also now see is that the market is becoming incredibly saturated. With thousands of publishers of all sizes asking to pay, it is increasingly difficult to stand out, and to get people to choose.

We hear people talk about subscription fatigue, but that's not really where the problem is. The simple fact is that people have a limited time and budget. And so, if we go from 100 to several thousand publishers, there is simply not going to be enough money for everyone.

So, let's talk about how to fix that. How do you define what you do in such a way that it makes people want to pay you? Mind you, I specifically say: "pay you". We can't get people to pay for everything, so the focus must be to figure out how to get them to pay just for you.

But let's put this into a system.

Just... No!

Before I get defining this, I just quickly want to mention three things that I know people will email me about after this article, all of which won't help here. I just want to get this out of the way.

Bundles don't solve this: The first thing people are likely going to say is "why not do a bundle or create a Spotify for news?"

No ... just no. Remember, the problem is that the public is only willing to spend a limited amount of money on media and that there are too many publishers competing for it. So putting all the publishers into one big bundle literally solves nothing.

I'm never going to subscribe to all the newspapers: This is another thing I hear all the time. But here is the thing. You are not supposed to do this either. There is no reason to buy more than one newspaper. All the newspapers are still just covering the same stories.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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