Are we in a stories-as-a-service era of journalism?

By Aarthi Rayapura May 2, 2017

Excerpts from an article by David Skok on Medium

During the first quarter century of the commercial internet, digital journalism has already gone through three eras: the portal years, the search years, and the social years. Each era advanced storytelling and presented new revenue streams, but I would argue that digital journalism is now entering its most exciting period yet.

Think of this as the stories as a service era, where journalism will be paid for by readers, for readers.

The SaaS Era (2015-Present Day)
After twenty years of modularity and accelerated technological progress, where virtually everyone with a blog has the opportunity to become a digital publisher, digital journalism has overshot the needs of its consumers. These consumers are now living through a surplus of news and information, including fake news, that has eroded trust and credibility. They are on a flight towards quality and community.

The technological revolution upending digital journalism and creating this disruptive new market includes the emergence of machine learning, predictive analytics and a targeted understanding of user behavior. These data tools have given organizations that own their entire value chain a leg-up over their competitors. Digital journalism has gone from a modular phase of disruption to a new phase of integration that relies on owning the relationship with your reader through data.

This journalism era, paid for by readers, for readers, will result in quality journalism, trustworthiness, and the building of new communities. For almost a century, journalism — in all its forms — has been funded by advertisers, and not by consumers. By having readers pay for their own journalism and using the data publishers have to listen to what their readers really want, news organizations can focus on accountability metrics like loyalty, retention, and churn that resemble SaaS instead of a singular focus on CPMs.

If print publishers can contain their legacy cost structures and offer a unified editorial vision they could be at a distinct advantage in harnessing their existing subscriber relationships.
An organization that has successfully adapted this approach is the Financial Times. Robin Goad, their head of customer analytics outlined last Spring how the FT had built a formula that accurately predicted whether someone would subscribe or cancel their FT.com subscription. It was only possible for the FT to build the “RFV Formula” as it is now known [Recency x Frequency x Volume] because they owned their customer data.

Read the full article on Medium

Learn how Zuora helps publishers such as the Financial Times and The Guardian succeed in the Stories-as-a-Service era! And check out our Academy Guide – 3 Creative Acquisition Strategies for Print-to-Digital Publishers!