Last year, venture capital poured at least $683 million into digital media companies worldwide -- more than twice the $277 million invested in 2013, according to Preqin, which tracks venture-capital investments.
That investment comes as traditional media companies like The New York Times and Condé Nast cut staff, trim costs and turn over every possible rock in search of new revenue streams. Meanwhile, digital media companies -- which have a fraction of old media's revenue and even less of their profits -- are awash in investor cash.
While many people treat the holidays as the perfect time to give the latest iPhone or video game, some gift givers are opting for a more traditional present this year: a subscription to the print magazine The Week.
The magazine, which includes a roundup of news, has been so successful at persuading its subscribers to give the magazine to friends and relatives that gift subscriptions have become a major driver of its total circulation.
With the growth of social media and the tectonic shift toward reading on mobile phones, the death of the homepage has been treated as something of a given. Newer Web sites, like Quartz, have eschewed it. Some, like Medium, rethought it altogether, while others have thrown themselves into increasing their social media-friendly output. NowThis (formerly NowThisNews) has even gone so far as to create content that will only live on social platforms. But the homepage still has its diehards among publishers, well aware that direct visitors tend to stay longer and return more frequently, which makes them valuable to advertisers
This month, The New Yorker launched a metered paywall, allowing visitors six free articles before being asked to subscribe for $12 for 12 weeks or $60 a year ($70 for a print+digital subscription). While we applaud The New Yorkers instinct to value its online-only content, we can't help wondering - Is a metered paywall really the best model for a consumer magazine with original content?
As much of our research shows, metered paywalls work best for breaking news sites, where there's a lot of free competition for readers' eyeballs on the same story.
Longform and listicles, tinyletters and tweetdecks, snowfalls and subreddits - we are awash with new forms of media. Each new day seems to bring a special new media experience: Blogs pop up over here; data visualizations, over there. And really - how the heck did podcasting become relevant again?
Scott Stossel, editor of The Atlantic, has reason to be nervous. That's partly because of his personality-detailed in "My Age of Anxiety: Fear, Hope, Dread, and the Search for Peace of Mind" published earlier this year-but also because the venerable print magazine over which he presides is just barely in the black. Stossel, who describes himself as "platform agnostic," is on his second tour of duty with The Atlantic. After joining the staff in 1992, he helped launch The Atlantic Online, the title's initial digital venture.
The Web stats are all going in the right direction.
In May, per comScore, theweek.com registered 7.7 million unique visitors across all platforms. The Google Analytics numbers were even higher (ten million uniques). Meanwhile, for the first half of 2014, The Week will be reporting at the end of the month to the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) its highest-ever circulation total. Those stats will be publicly released August 7.
So how did they do it? "It's really two-fold," explains The Weekand Mental Floss CEO Steven Kotok (pictured) during a recent phone conversation with FishbowlNY.
Mental Floss, which launched out of a Duke dorm room back in 2000, in many ways anticipated the type of evergreen, list-driven content that would eventually become popular on an Internet that was not yet ubiquitous.
"One day in the cafeteria, Will [Pearson] and I were sitting there and we said, 'What if there was a magazine that came to your doorstep every month and it was filled with all of these great fascinating topics and you could learn just by skimming it, and it never talked down to you, it wasn't pedantic
Felix Dennis, chairman of Dennis Publishing, which publishes The Week and Mental Flossamong other titles, died yesterday at age 67 at his home in England, the company announced this morning.
Dennis, the firm's colorful namesake and founder, had been fighting cancer since 2012, and had prepared for the company to go on indepently his absence, Dennis U.S. C.E.O. Steven Kotok told staff this morning. The magazines will now be held by a trust that funds Dennis' charity tree-planting initiative in the U.K., The Heart of England forest project, and are not for sale, Kotok said.
In the past couple of years, the "longread" has been one of the most popular buzzwordsamong online publications, with outlets from BuzzFeed to The Atlantic touting investments in more deep-dive, longform journalism. Over at The Week, however, things are moving in an entirely different direction.
Today, TheWeek.com officially launched "Speed Reads," a vertical dedicated to quick takes on news and current events. The stories, most of which max out at around 200 words, cover everything from events in Ukraine to the Tea Party's waning popularity to "a hot jazz cover of Wham's 'Careless Whisper.'"