Tasaka’s Tech Talk

Newsletter 2.0: The emergence of single-page media


I have a deep appreciation for newsletters. They say everything old is new again.

Today, with an almost overwhelming amount of information we must sift through on news sites, social media and third-party aggregation sites, like Apple and Google News, it’s nice to have information curated and summarized for me and delivered to my inbox. That kind of sounds like a newspaper.

In all seriousness, newsletters, which are the oldest form of mass media predating newspapers, have had a resurgence based on products like The Hustle and Morning Brew and platforms like Substack, Ghost and BeeHiiv. 

Around five years ago, the local media industry began to embrace newsletters. Some saw them as an entry point to their websites to boost traffic. Others utilized newsletters to drive subscriptions and generate revenue. These strategies weren't mutually exclusive, and soon, publishers found themselves targeting niche audiences with multiple newsletters. Suddenly, the world was flooded with email newsletters. My personal Gmail account reminds me of this, with 384,000 emails in my promotions folder.

While many publishers adopted newsletters, few developed a comprehensive newsletter publishing strategy. With the decline of past traffic drivers like search and social media, newsletters are becoming increasingly vital for local publishers’ revenue and engagement. 

Over the years, numerous publishers have asked me about successful newsletters or models I would recommend. I always point them to one product — Podnews. It’s not The Hustle, Axios or Morning Brew. It’s not backed by venture capital, nor does it have a large team of writers and developers. Its success lies in offering a one-stop media destination for its community and a solid monetization strategy. I would even call it utilitarian as it super-serves its community. Its analytics back this up.

Podnews (https://podnews.net/) was created by James Cridland from Brisbane, Australia. Cridland is an industry thought leader, presenter, educator and consultant covering the audio industry. He refers to himself as a "radio futurist.” He originally created Podnews to get his clients information about the fledgling podcast industry as a quick daily read.

While Podnews is considered a B2B product, think of it as a community product. The global podcast industry is its market, which collectively may be smaller than many local markets’ populations.

About Podnews

Some facts about Podnews: It’s a seven-year-old digital product, delivered five days a week to around 30,000 email subscribers. It’s also available on the web and as a podcast. I often describe it as “single-page media" since the newsletter and website feature the same ads and content. Unlike a website, each day’s publication is archived in its entirety, including ads, allowing readers to revisit any day over the past seven years and see the industry sentiment and advertisers of that time.

Podnews is designed to be a daily starting point for its audience. Stories are carefully curated, summarized and linked to the original source. Additionally, the article’s topic is indexed and linked to a topic or company summary page with more information and previous stories. It has no frills and is not heavily designed. It was intended to be a quick read with the ability to drill down by following the story links.


What sets Podnews apart is its multiple ad sources, including two self-service options. The other unique aspect of the business model is its use of scarcity and priority, which I’ll cover in more detail.

Sponsored Positions

What sets Podnews apart are its multiple ad sources, including two self-service options. The other unique aspect of the business model is its use of scarcity and priority. Ad rates vary by the date, starting at $29 a day. As ads are sold, prices escalate, encouraging early bookings.

There are three anchored sponsorship positions — the headline sponsor at the top of the page and two within the newsletter’s body. These positions are persistent, and sponsors can purchase them monthly. One rule is that a sponsor may only buy a position once every 12 months. Sponsored ads are handled by the Podnews sales team, while others are available through low-friction self-service platforms.

While Podnews is a B2B product, it doesn’t charge high B2B rates. Cridland aimed to make ads affordable for the industry. On a CPM basis, rates are well below $10.

Podnews does take other sponsorship opportunities with custom ads, content marketing and custom requests by advertisers. These three sponsorship opportunities remain persistent in the mix.


The second revenue source is just below the fold in the main content section, titled “Classifieds.” It accommodates text ads and serves as an upsell for the jobs and events sections. To place an ad, users are directed to a self-service portal where they can create a headline and ad and book their dates. The brilliance here lies in creating scarcity. Ad rates vary by the date, starting at $29 a day. As ads are sold, prices escalate, encouraging early bookings.

The classified ads also remain part of the issue indefinitely and appear in Podnews’ RSS feed.

The supporter tiles at the bottom of every page on the site and in the newsletter figure prominently and are a part of the overall monetization strategy.


The most conspicuous revenue source is the supporter tiles at the bottom of every page on the site and in the newsletter. Gold supporters receive a slightly larger logo and the opportunity to publish an op-ed piece. Gold sponsorship starts at $300, while silver starts at $150. Sponsors can pay more if they wish, with the highest-paying supporter securing the top position. Patreon handles this system.

Providing Value

Podnews’ goal is to provide value for its community. Three valuable components are part of the website’s daily content. Users can post free job and event listings with no fee required. The third high-value resource is the industry directory — a comprehensive list of all community companies. The platform also includes a listing of press releases from industry sources.

The directory is a reference for articles linking companies and topics with a summary of the companies and links to past articles about them.

In a recent column, I emphasized the value of exhaustive data resources for community engagement. Despite serving a relatively small industry, Podnews receives 1.1 million monthly pageviews for its content and resource pages.

Podnews serves as an inspiration for newsletter publishing in various communities. While I can’t share specific revenue figures, I can say that Podnews enjoys a very healthy six-figure revenue and is highly profitable.

Podnews’ success is attributed to its workflow, which was designed for a sub-two-person operation. As many independent digital publishers and small newsrooms struggle with small audiences and staff, it’s essential to rethink the problems to be solved and provide invaluable resources to communities.

By now, you may be wondering what this platform that does all of these things is. Cridland developed this by himself. He is very transparent about his technology and his processes. In fact, he dedicates a page in his articles section (https://podnews.net/article/tools-used).

At a time when we may blame technology for keeping us inches from business-changing revenue, I am inspired and envious of all that Cridland has done with Podnews. I first met him in 2019 and have watched it evolve.

Today, news media companies possess brand recognition, local consumer and business trust, and valuable opted-in email addresses. As changes in search and social algorithms erode existing digital revenue, focusing on newsletter strategies can drive significant revenue growth. At the same time, be aware that anyone in a market can execute this strategy and revenue model. Being early with a plan is crucial. If you haven’t started yet, you can still leapfrog older strategies.

Guy Tasaka is a seasoned media professional with a 35-year track record of leading change in the industry. He has collaborated with renowned organizations such as Macworld Magazine, Ziff-Davis and The New York Times, where he honed his expertise in research, strategy, marketing and product management. As the former chief digital officer at Calkins Media, Guy was acknowledged as the Local Media Association's Innovator of the Year for his work in advancing OTT and digital video platforms for local news organizations. He is also the founder and managing partner of Tasaka Digital, specializing in helping media and technology companies navigate business transformations using his extensive experience and forward-thinking approach. Guy can be reached at guy@tasakadigital.com.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here