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The rise of subscriptions

I came across this graph indicating the revenue trend for magazine subscriptions (digital and paper). This indicates that the share of advertising revenue has been falling for magazines (which has been a far too evident trend as all this money has moved over to Google and Facebook) while the share of subscription revenue has been increasing (i.e. people paying for content).

The key aspect to this is establishing a strong brand with consistently good content to command a subscription fees. While this chart is in the context of curators like magazines and sites like Medium (aggregation of magazines and publications and individual writers), the trend is applicable to other individual content creators as well.

I've increasingly started to curate what I read in my inbox. All the publications and writers whose work I read regularly (Wired, New Yorker, Seth Godin, Benedict Evans, Fred Wilson, etc) and the podcasts I listen to regularly (YC Podcast, Science Vs, Tim Ferris Show, Akimbo, Radiolab, Exponent, etc) are all delivered directly to my inbox and I access them from there.

I'd be very happy to pay a monthly subscription to any of these as I've come to enjoy their content and do so already for some of them that charge.

I read very little outside of what I subscribe to be delivered on my inbox. I occasionally do it to discover new writers, publications and podcasts.

But this is a crowded marketplace. It is incredibly hard to hit a blockbuster in this marketplace due to the wide variety that is out there.

Each writer and podcaster is uniquely addressing a niche to have that audience be loyal to them.

While some people curate their own lists to subscribe to and read (like me), very few people actually do it. This is where the likes of Medium (for reading) and Spotify (for podcasts) are growing in popularity. For the selection and curation that they offer.

It is great to see good content being able to command subscription fees from a growing number of users.

There is still hope after all.

(Hat-tip to Frederic Filloux)

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