Slate Launches a Metered Paywall to Draw More Membership Revenue From Readers, Not Just Listeners

A publication’s paying subscribers may be just a sliver of the “monthly uniques” touted on press releases, but they’re a critically important one. The monthly or annual charges on their credit cards are the steadiest revenue stream available to most media companies—especially compared to, say, advertising sales during a pandemic. That stability is one reason why a number of alt-weeklies suffering from a sudden ad crash have rushed to launch membership programs in the past week. But the broader shift to reader revenue and away from advertising goes back way farther, long before any of us had heard of COVID-19.

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