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Time launched its eCommerce site
Here’s the latest in digital media:
Time launched its eCommerce site. The site, called Time Stamped, offers recommendations and reviews for consumer products. At launch, the site focuses on financial products – including credit cards, loans, and insurance – and it plans to expand to other verticals including home, consumer tech, travel, and fashion.
Robert Allbritton launched a nonprofit to train journalists. The Politico founder started the institute to offer aspiring journalists training & mentoring. Fellows will get salaries of $60,000 and write for a publication run by the institute. The institute's executive director is Tim Grieve, who ran the newsrooms at Politico Pro and Protocol.
The FT shared intel on their newsletter strategy. Two interesting notes: 1) The FT’s newsletter called “One Must-Read,” which points readers to one FT piece each evening, had the “highest numbers we’ve had for a launch ever”; 2) The FT is experimenting with two paid newsletters sold separately from the core FT subscription. In other FT news ($), the company is exploring acquisitions to expand its energy coverage.
The Messenger shared more of its plans. A quick summary: 1) It will launch in beta on May 15 with 200 employees; 2) News & politics will be the core focus, with nine other verticals rolling out this year; 3) The company aims to generate $100 million in revenue in 2024 from digital advertising and events; 4) It will have video studios in NYC, DC, and LA; 5) Digital subscriptions and podcasts will come later down the road.
Let’s talk about The Messenger.
It has so much potential. It’s rare to have $50 million and so much talent deployed towards such an ambitious goal.
But right now, it looks like The Messenger has more of a vision than a strategy. They’ve outlined a vision for a nonpartisan news organization spread across many coverage areas and platforms. That’s a great goal, but the company hasn’t yet presented a compelling path between here and there.
The current era of digital news demands focus – doing a small number of things well. For a sense of the challenge, look no further than recent layoff announcements at BuzzFeed News, FiveThirtyEight, and Vice. If you first succeed in a small number of areas, you’re then in a stronger position to expand to adjacent spaces.
For The Messenger, a narrower near-term focus wouldn’t require a change in vision. Rather, it would entail doing fewer things at first – for example, hiring more slowly, launching fewer verticals this year, and waiting a while before producing video.
The Messenger has already committed significant resources to its launch, but the team can still hone 2023 plans. A slower, more focused approach would give them a better shot at ultimately achieving their long-term vision.
And here’s more news from around the industry:
Workweek launched HireFor, a recruiting service.
The Washington Post is kicking off a streaming channel on Amazon Freevee.
Time will publish a ranking of “America’s Best Law Firms” in partnership with Statista.
The Economist attracted 26 million views from 50 TikTok posts in their first six months on the platform.
Grist and the Center for Rural Strategies launched a platform for rural newsrooms to share and republish stories.
AI & Platforms:
VentureBeat plans to use AI across the full “story creation process — from pitch to headline to editing and publishing.”
A number of publishers have joined Bluesky – among them, Bloomberg, Semafor, and The Intercept.
Snap is experimenting with sponsored links with its AI chatbot.
ChatGPT is cutting into customer growth at Chegg, which provides support for students.
Microsoft plans to launch an enterprise version of ChatGPT that keeps data secure.
TV & Film:
Sylvia Banderas Coffinet, the former general manager of Vox Media, is the new CEO of the Latino Media Network, which runs a number of Hispanic radio stations.
The Writers Guild of America began a strike yesterday – demands include higher minimum pay and more writers per show.
Amazon added new free, ad-supported streaming channels on Fire TV devices.
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