American startup Substack, a platform dedicated to premium newsletter publishing (founded in 2017), has just shared with Niemanlab the growth of its publishers' subscriber base. The figures, while still modest, are encouraging. More than 11,000 people now pay an average of just under $80 a year to access content distributed by Substack's partner publishers. This publisher is now approaching the million-dollar annual subscription mark. Proof that the newsletter is indeed a premium medium par excellence.
The bulk of this subscriber base is made up of around ten medium-sized publishers, according to Hamish Mc Kenzie. He is co-founder of Substack (former journalist at Pando.com and content creator for Tesla, among other achievements). Mc Kenzie said at the time of Substack's fund-raising that he was inspired in particular by the success of Ben Thompson's paid newsletter Stratechery. In February 2017, he told Recode that he had multiplied the revenues he generated by 100 before embarking on this editorial adventure. All at a rate of $10 a month ($100 a year). A modest expense for Stratechery's readership, but a significant income for its editor, thanks to the natural scale of the distribution method.
The Revue platform has also launched an offer enabling independent publishers to create their own paid newsletters. It recently shared on Medium an analysis of the frequency of distribution and average pricing of paid newsletters. These seem to range essentially between $5 and $10 per month.
Poder360, a Brazilian political site comparable to Politico, had over 11,000 subscribers to its paid newsletter in April 2018. A newsletter managed by a dedicated team of 30 people.
Nicholas Quah's HotPod newsletter ($7 per month paid version) is exclusively dedicated to the podcast industry. He now earns enough income from it to devote himself to it full-time, and has rapidly established himself as an authority on the sector.
The key to the success of these paid offerings? Quality niche content written by enthusiasts, sent out regularly, often supported by a free offer as an appetizer.
In addition to the recurring transactions of this premium medium, it is also possible to monetize your content. This is achieved through the automatic insertion of personalized advertisements, natively integrated into the newsletter layout. This is what ividence offers. More than 70 publishers generate significant revenue in this way.
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