Here is @pilhofer's excellent analysis of the @nytimes acquisition of @TheAthletic and its likely impact on local newspapers: not good news for them. I have a few more thoughts & questions. 1/…
It's becoming clear to me and I think others that The Times now values total subs as its key metric and so it is acquiring a bunch of new subscribers to get it impressively close to its audacious goal of 10 million paying subs. Mazel. 2/
Thus I'm guessing that The Times will add more subscription products alongside sports, food, & puzzles. Sports seems obvious but The Times is not a sports paper a la @NYDNSports. So it needed to acquire something. Here comes The Athletic, in need of a home. Kismet. /3
I'm not a sports fan so I'm way out of my depth here. I don't know about the quality of local newspaper sections anymore. I don't fully understand the problems at ESPN. What interests me about what The Times brings is not so much editorial but marketing. Can it sell & retain? 4/
Thus the dynamics that most interest me are the subscriber acquisition cost--something hardly ever discussed in the industry's love affair with paywalls--as well as churn and ARPU. That the two sub bases are complementary makes me ask how much benefit The Times will bring. 5/
It's being pointed out that The Times can bring advertising to The Athletic. Yes. But in my days in newspapers, sports had very little endemic advertising (tire ads: a sexist presumption). Sports betting? Yes. But how appropriate is that to The Times brand? Hmmm. 6/
What interests me next is what other new sub products The Times might offer. Business? Way too much competition. Entertainment? Ditto & my baby, @EW, is not exactly on fire. Home? Maybe for rich folk. Health? Naw. 7/
I think new subscription products will need to break out of the old taxonomy of the newspapers: new services for other interests taking forms besides just content--e.g., community, education, events. But I think The Times will hit a wall on consumer willingness to pay. 8/
As for local papers: Perhaps foolishly, I'm less dystopic in this regard than Aron because in my paper experience sports readership was a minority, necessary for the attention-based, mass-media ad model now fading. I could be very wrong. 9/
That is, in the old myth of mass media, we sold all readers to all advertisers and thus low readership for, say, sports or bridge columns was still valuable as we sold them all to the advertisers anyway. That was yesterday. It's gone. 10/
I have long been wondering what a highly focused local news operation that <cough> does what it does best--local--and links to the rest looks like as a smaller, sustainable enterprise. That's what I explored here. 11/…
Finally the point. Bottom line, I very much agree with @pilhofer that The Times is no friend of local papers. It could have been. It's not now. So, yes, local papers are even more vulnerable. Add in Axios & Politico trying to go local (with a fair amount of blind hubris). 13/
Local newspapers could have banded together to compete on content & advertising; they did, and blew it big time in not supporting New Century Network. Alden, which now controls (too) many papers is not going to invest a nickel in innovation. 14/
So I think the real discussion Aron raises isn't so much about sports but about--once again--whither legacy local newspapers. Are they worth tending still? Some yes, some no. 15/
My real hope goes to other ventures, like @pilhofer's own @tinynewsco, @city_bureau, @media_outlier, @SpaceshipMedia, @THECITYNY, @TexasTribune--my usual list. We need much, much more innovation and investment at this level. I trust @jimbrady at @knightfdn will be a big help. /16
P.S. I don't miss flying or hotels. I don't miss most conferences. But I do miss getting to see pals like @pilhofer to have discussions such as this over beer instead of just Twitter. I'm keeping my fingers cross that Omicron allows @journalismfest!

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Jeff Jarvis

Jeff Jarvis Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @jeffjarvis

9 Jan
I've been thinking about @photomatt's response to @brian_armstrong's response to @moxie's excellent post about Web 3. Some responses in return. tl;dr: I think @photomatt + WordPress provide much of the model @moxie seeks in the end. 1/
First, let me say I don't give a rat's rump what is Web 1, 2,or 3. They are all hubristic labels based on the ego of the present tense. This is web .000002. As I say often, it's 1475 in Gutenberg (Johannes, not WordPress) years. 2/…
A key lesson I came to writing my book (still seeking publisher) on the (Johannes) Gutenberg Parenthesis is that it took a century and a half before groundbreaking innovation came *with* print: the newspaper, the modern novel, the essay (Montaigne), a market for printed plays. 3/
Read 19 tweets
5 Jan
Well, well. Djokovic hits a hiccup at the border. He should be turned away. Asshole.
Visa and exemption evidence concerns delay Novak Djokovic’s entry into Australia…
From Murdoch's Australian.
Good report from ABC Australia.…
Read 5 tweets
3 Jan
I've been fearing for Wired, as it seemed to take a dystopian, Guardianesque turn, making up for last snark about technology. But I'm heartened by @glichfield's manifesto concentrating on large problems & tech's role in them vs tech-as-solution-or-problem.…
I'm glad that @glichfield is also focusing on the role of people over machines. It is time to learn from the humanities in this discussion. That is why I am starting this course & program at my school.…
I want students to learn that they have the agency and responsibility to build the future of the net and society with it. Treating tech as *the* problem will at best get us incremental improvements, at worst more unintended consequences. Thus:…
Read 5 tweets
31 Dec 21
In this devastating review of "The Story Paradox," @TimothyDSnyder calls news deserts a crisis of American storytelling. This brings to mind my contention that journalists make the mistake of calling their work "stories" v. "articles." 1/…
My journalistic problem with stories is related to my complaint yesterday about coverage of science. To tell a "story" is to need an alpha, an omega, and a neat arc in between. But science--hell, life--is a process without the neat endings journalism desires. 2/
I trust @TimothyDSnyder's judgment and so it's too bad the book is not an adequate examination of the presumptions, seductions, and perils of the story. I'd welcome that discussion. See, for example, les affaires Stephen Glass & Claas Relotius: 3/…
Read 8 tweets
14 Dec 21
I think we might be seeing the last supernova of scale. Scale was required in the age of mass media but that age, my friends, is at its dusk. Every last newspaper trapped in the evil hedge-witch's cabin & pureplays all huddling against the cold are last-ditch efforts to be big.
Will mergers to scale make these companies better able to compete with Google, FB, et al? I think not. The platforms & the rollups will all fight over what is left of the attention-based ad market. That scrabble will go on for awhile.....
In the meantime, others try for scale outside of the ad market: Spotify trying to buy up all the podcasts; Substack trying to lure all the newsletter writers. Apart from some marketing advantage, I see no necessary role for scale in subscription products.....
Read 12 tweets
8 Dec 21
In a few minutes, @APettegree & @A_der_Weduwen will be discussing their new book here:
The Library: A Fragile History | LIVE from NYPL via @YouTube
Jane Kamensky asks the authors about collaborating on books (they've done 3 together). @APettegree is a generous scholar He is surprised there are not more cowritten books in the humanities (as in science). His partnership with @A_der_Weduwen has produced such impressive work.
.@APettegree said his one rule working with @A_der_Weduwen is that each accepts the track-changes made by the other with "no sulking." That is checking one's ego at the keyboard.
Read 15 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!