Digital disruption has affected local sports pages, thanks to a new publication that opened its doors with something many Newspapers have struggled for many years.
Sports, subscription-based sports website, he made his debut with Chicago vertical in January 2016 and has increased significantly in recent time, the mobilization of $ 20 million and expand its subscriber base to six digits. (Athletic refused to provide his audience numbers or demographic information, except rap noting that “our readers run the gamut—lovers of all kinds.”)
As more and more publications to introduce paid access, including vanity Fair, Bloomberg and business Insider (and Adweek), media experts say that Sports model is unique in that the company is growing by attracting loyal subscribers, luring them with the promise of quality journalism, which are not interrupted by advertising.
An annual subscription to sports costs about $50 and about 90% of subscribers renew each year.
“They can get enough subscribers, where they don’t have to start advertising? Here’s the million-dollar question,” said Rebecca Lieb, founder and analyst kaleido and conclusions. “The construction of this base is critical no matter what”.
Athletic operates in almost 30 cities and employs 150 staff. With $ 20 million, he just provided sports seeking to enter new markets and to recruit for its headquarters in San Francisco to support this growth, – said sports Director Adam Hansmann.
Sports markets itself as a place readers can find in their favorite local teams. The publication attracts the best reporters with the promise to allow them to write long stories of their previous publications probably won’t constantly on greenlight.
“We want our writers write for the Customer, not the advertiser,” said Hansmann.
Media experts say they are curious to see if the site will support a subscription model, offer advertising or Wade, like other publishers, alternative sources of income such as e-Commerce or events.
Brian Wieser, a senior analyst on key research, said that it is possible for the company to find success through a subscription model.
“It can be argued that the company, which is trying to first demonstrate their worth for the customer group to pay for it probably has more strength than one solely focused on advertising,” said Wieser.
Since the launch, the Chicago Sports section has accumulated more than 25 000 subscribers.
Press Secretary sports said the publication examines ways of diversifying, including new media platforms such as podcasts and videos, events (that publication had been messing with this collection of appreciation of the caller in Chicago). Although they “never say never,” said Hansmann currently is not considered.
“We have created our business on the fact that user experience is sacred,” said Hansmann. “To interrupt that experience with ads or third-party content, which would effectively break the trust we have with our customers, and we have no intention of doing that.”
An annual subscription to sports costs about$ 50 and about 90 percent of subscribers renew every year. Its oldest markets, which Hansmann says is not profitable, is growing at a rate of about 20 percent for the month.
Hansmann declined to give exact numbers but said some of the most ancient cities of the publisher, such as Chicago, more than 25,000 subscribers. After two years in business, is one of the best cities, said Taylor Patterson, a representative of the athletic. (Athletic refused to provide more detailed audience figures or demographic information, except rap noting that “our readers run the gamut—lovers of all kinds.“)
“We are very patient investors—but if the city takes longer than expected to grow, we maintain a huge amount of data, which allows to determine whether the problem can be with the content of the strategy, lack of consumer awareness or something else,” said Patterson. “More good news, in sports, in which there is a constant flow of new data and storylines that allow us to iterate in real time with the content of the mixture and the product.”
Media analysts agree with the subscription model to work in the fields where the passionate readers. Sport, for example, is a good topic to start in this space, because the sports fanatic readers said BTIG research media analyst rich Greenfield.
“Instead of paying for newspaper that has a huge amount of Content that You don’t care you only get the vertical you care about,” said Greenfield. “So I think this is a really interesting idea, like the division of the heritage newspaper, and another example of someone willing to pay a modest monthly fee to avoid the damaging publicity”.
Click for more from this issue, this story first appeared in the 14 may 2018 issue of the magazine Adweek. Click here to sign up.