Digital Publishing News Roundup: Week of January 17, 2022

    Fact checked by Vahe Arabian
    Vahe Arabian

    Founder and Editor in Chief of State of Digital Publishing. My vision is to provide digital publishing and media professionals a platform to collaborate and promote their efforts, my passion is to uncover talent and… Read more

    Edited by Andrew Kemp
    Andrew Kemp

    Andrew joined the State of Digital Publishing team in 2021, bringing with him more than a decade and a half of editorial experience in B2B publishing. His career has spanned the technology, natural resources, financ…Read more

    roundup week of january

    What’s been happening in the world of digital publishing over the last week? Here’s your weekly round-up of news, announcements, product launches, and more.


    Almost seven in ten people worry they are being lied to by journalists according to latest Edelman trust survey

    A majority of people around the world are concerned that they are being lied to by journalists, according to the latest trust survey from PR firm Edelman.

    Two-thirds (67%) of people globally said that they believe that journalists and reporters purposely try to mislead people by saying things they know are false or grossly exaggerated – an increase of eight percentage points on the company’s last report published in 2021. Read more

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    Why it matters: As the report explains, “This vicious cycle of distrust threatens societal stability,” they said. “It’s a death grip where media is chasing clicks and government is chasing votes, both feeding a cycle of disinformation and division and exploiting it for commercial and political gain.”


    Axios Pro Deal Newsletters Launch, Starting at $599 Annually

    The smart brevity publisher Axios launched its first paid subscription product Wednesday morning, a series of three newsletters covering investment and acquisition news in the financial tech, health tech and retail industries.

    Called Axios Pro, the newsletters cost $599 per year individually or $2,499 for All Access, which includes the three existing newsletters—as well as two more that the publisher aims to release this spring, covering media and climate tech. For a limited time, until the media and climate tech newsletters debut, the publisher is offering All Access for a promotional price of $1,799. The newsletters will publish daily during the week, and a subscription also provides the reader access to exclusive Axios Pro events and other pending perks. Read more

    Why it matters: As the author explains: “The debut of Axios Pro marks the first major foray by the publisher into the world of consumer subscriptions, as it has generated its revenue almost exclusively from a mix of advertising and sponsorships until now. The eye-popping price tag, which does not offer a monthly payment option, is an educated bet from the publisher that it can offer professional readers insider financial reporting valuable enough to justify the cost.”

    Social media

    Instagram launches early test of creator subscriptions in the US

    Instagram is giving creators more ways to make money with the launch of Instagram Subscriptions. The feature, which was spotted hitting the App Store back in November, is now officially in early testing with a small group of U.S. creators who will be able to offer their followers paid access to exclusive Instagram Live videos and Stories. Subscribers will also receive a special badge that will help them to stand out in the comments section and creators’ inboxes. Read more

    Why it matters: As the author points out, “Of course, Instagram isn’t just trying to help creators make a living. It’s also trying to shore up its platform against the threat of competition, namely from TikTok, which has attracted a growing number of creators looking to reach a younger, Gen Z following…The activity in this space is a reflection of the size of the market. The creator economy is estimated to be a little over $100 billion dollars, and growing.”

    TikTok is thinking about letting its creators charge subscription fees

    TikTok confirmed Thursday that it is testing support for paid subscriptions, paving the way for creators on the short form video platform to charge for their content. First reported by The Information, the company didn’t share details about when it might roll out to creators, how many creators are currently testing it, or what the pay structure might look like. Read more

    Why it matters: As the author points out, “TikTok’s test of paid subscribers follows Instagram’s announcement that it, too, is launching a test of paid subscriptions with a small number of creators and influencers. Subscribers will pay a monthly fee to access exclusive content from creators they follow, including Stories and Live videos.”

    How newsrooms are experimenting with Twitter Spaces

    Twitter Spaces, initially described as “ephemeral” audio-only chats, are taking on a more permanent role. The social platform has added the ability for hosts to record the live sessions, introduced ticketing for those who want to monetize their Spaces, and devoted prime real estate in the app to the feature. They’re also actively encouraging newsrooms and journalists to take on the role of host.

    Recent newsroom-hosted Spaces include NPR’s Steve Inskeep talking about his abbreviated interview with Trump, the Miami Herald going behind the scenes of their months-long investigation into the Surfside condo collapse, and reporters at The Washington Post jumping on to respond to the news Microsoft was acquiring the gamemaker Activision. Read more

    Why it matters: Matt Adams, engagement editor at NPR, is quoted in the article, summarizing the importance of Twitter Space: ““We’re starting to wonder, ‘Okay, can this work as a social audio conversation? How can we get more voices on this whether from the audience or our sources?’” he added. “I’d say that it’s becoming part of our strategy just like we produce pieces for on-air.””

    Audience engagement

    How BBC News topped 20m Instagram followers – and why it has stayed away from TikTok

    BBC News crossed 20m followers on Instagram in December – the first news account in the world to do so.

    The closest news account on the platform is CNN with 16.3m followers. The next biggest UK-based newsbrand is The Guardian on 4.9m. Read more

    Why it matters: As the article explains, “Although all major newsbrands saw their Instagram accounts grow as the Covid-19 pandemic led to a demand for trusted news sources, BBC News has done particularly well out of it. BBC News head of social Jeremy Skeet told Press Gazette there is a simple formula of four things that have helped the account grow: “laser-like focus” on the audience; regular posting; creating more explainers especially in relation to Covid-19; and using text on images.”


    Exclusive: The Arena Group to acquire Parade

    The Arena Group, a digital publishing company formerly called Maven, plans to acquire AMG/Parade, the parent company to the storied American magazine Parade, in a $16 million cash and stock deal. AMG acquired Parade from Advance Publications in 2014. It has been widely-distributed via local newspapers for decades. Despite the fall of print, Parade is still distributed to millions of households weekly via newspapers like The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe and others. Read more

    Why it matters: As Sara Fischer explains, “AMG/Parade will anchor The Arena Group’s new push into lifestyle content and will boost its sports vertical, per Ross Levinsohn, CEO of The Arena Group.”

    A startup that rates the reliability of news sources says it’s making a profit

    NewsGuard, a four-year-old startup that scans the web and rates the reliability of news sources, says its own business is reliable enough to turn a profit.

    The company more than doubled its revenue in 2021 versus the year before, thanks to licensing deals with advertisers and other firms that use its ratings.
    NewsGuard is now expanding into new areas, such as rating individual television shows, and new markets, including Canada, co-CEOs Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz said in a joint interview. Read more

    Why it matters: As the article points out: “The biggest conceivable opportunity for the company is in Silicon Valley. To date, giants like Facebook (FB) and Twitter have not incorporated NewsGuard’s ratings into their systems. But one big tech player, Microsoft (MSFT), has licensed the ratings for users of its Edge browser.”



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