“The Seattle Times is part of a broader movement among news publishers pivoting away from content that does not build habits or direct connections with their audiences. By getting reporters directly involved in driving subscriptions, the publisher can create a stronger link between the content its newsroom is making and conversions.”
This retrospective digs into team organization and the decisions these reporters made to better align their work with audience wants and needs. Organizing reporters into mini-publisher teams (a reference to Table Stake #6: “Drive audience growth and profitability from a ‘mini-publisher’ perspective”) with the power and the support to change the form and function of their work led to experiments with new newsletters and breaking-news style pieces about orcas in Puget Sound.
The experiments seem to be working. The Times reports 21 percent digital subscription growth, or a total of 40,000 subscribers. “The publisher is getting close to replacing lost advertising revenue with consumer revenue; it needs to amass close to 50,000 digital subscribers to make up for the declines in digital display advertising.”