Newsletters have become an important entry point for media startups. However, a single channel is probably not enough for publishing success and Digiday has been speaking to a collection of newsletter publishers that are planning to expand beyond the inbox. The four are moving into events, video and podcasts to diversify their businesses and grow their revenue in 2023.
While there is no easy way to grow a media startup, newsletters provide a very direct way for publishers to build an audience and create habits around their products. However, newsletter publishers can reach a revenue plateau, according to Dan Oshinsky at email consultancy Inbox Collective:
Publishers can reach a cap on how much money they can sell a newsletter ad for as their audiences grow, so it bodes well for them to branch out into other products and channels.
Oshinsky explained that the cost per open for a newsletter can range from $20 to $60 per thousand readers, but advertisers spending $5,000 or $10,000 on newsletter ads are unlikely to spend $50,000 just because a newsletter audience grows to a million readers.
In this context, he sees newsletter publishers increasingly offering advertisers an ‘array of products’ to engage different audiences and draw in larger advertising budgets.
While newsletter ads account for almost 70% of Front Office Sports’ revenue, the business is looking to grow digital, social video and online education from 30% to 50% of the company’s income by the end of this year. Founder and CEO Adam White told Digiday:
Newsletters are an entry point for media companies and then they’re going to expand from there… we don’t even consider ourselves a newsletter company anymore.
Digiday reported that an anonymous ad agency media director said that their team very rarely buys advertising ‘one channel at a time’. Instead they consider multiple platforms from publishers. They explained:
It’s less about the individual channel with newsletters and more about reaching the audience in the best channel we can or the best channel mix that we can.
Other areas for newsletter publishers to expand into include podcasts, events and marketing services .
- Liz Gough,co-founder and COO of subscription newsletter publisher Puck told Digiday the company held four events in the first quarter of 2023. These included a dinner at the Sundance Film Festival, screening events in New York and Los Angeles and networking events for Puck’s premium subscribers.
- Entertainment industry newsletter The Ankler is also planning to increase revenue from events and podcasts this year. CEO Janice Min said it is selling pre-roll and mid-roll podcasts ads as well as newsletter ads. The company also held its first summit in March, partnering with Advertising Week to run NXSTREAM Global for the streaming sector.
- Sean Griffey, co-founder and CEO of B2B newsletter publisher Industry Dive, told Digiday he is looking into growing revenue from its custom content division studioID. With custom content accounting for about 40% of Industry Dive’s revenue Griffey said:
We’re newsletter-driven, but we’re a digital media [and] marketing services company