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United States

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@simonowens

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English

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Episodes

Inside the social media strategy for The Financial Times

9/20/2018
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Recently, an industry website called The Drum reported that The Financial Times, the London-based business publication, is projected to hit 1 million paying digital subscribers by next year. This is impressive, not just because only a handful of publications have hit this milestone, but also because The Financial Times has done so while maintaining a hard paywall. Unlike companies that use metered paywalls like The New York Times and Washington Post, The Financial Times hits users with a...

Duration:00:35:11

He pioneered early online advertising. Now he’s doing the same for AR

9/12/2018
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Long before Facebook started generating billions of dollars on self-service native ads, Henry Copeland had invented a self-service native advertising platform for blogs. And he was building early content management systems for newspapers well before products like Wordpress would go on to power much of the internet. These days, Copeland is focused on augmented reality, and he think that today’s AR products are the equivalent of the blog advertising widgets he was developing in the early...

Duration:00:38:29

This Boston business publication charges subscribers $695 a year and is sustainable

8/22/2018
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If you follow the digital media sector, you’ve likely noticed that advertising as a business model is on the wane. With the Facebook and Google duopoly sucking up just about all the advertising money flowing online, publishers have been forced to find alternate revenue sources to fund their content. One such source: subscriptions. More and more publishers are rolling out subscription and membership programs, and many have been successful. One such success? Innovation Leader, a small...

Duration:01:01:45

It started as a one-man personal finance blog. Now it generates millions in revenue.

8/12/2018
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In 2010, a college dropout named Kyle Taylor launched a blogspot account. He was taking on odd side jobs in an attempt to crawl his way out of debt, and the blog was a way to write about lessons he learned on making and saving money. Traffic was scarce, at first, but over a period of years the blog slowly gained an audience. Eventually, brands started approaching Taylor about publishing sponsored posts, and revenue for the site, which was called The Penny Hoarder, quickly grew. Flash...

Duration:00:51:36

How unemployed college students launched a thriving tech news site

7/30/2018
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When Christopher Wink graduated college in 2008, he had no intention of launching a media company. He just wanted an entry level journalism job that would allow him to work his way up within the industry. But back then, when newspapers were hemorrhaging revenue and announcing mass layoffs, there weren’t a lot of journalism jobs to pass around. So, out of desperation, he and a couple other college friends launched a Wordpress blog called Technically Philly. It covered the local tech scene,...

Duration:00:47:53

How Facebook’s Newsfeed changes are affecting European publishers

7/22/2018
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Back in January, Facebook made an announcement that shocked the publishing world: It was tweaking its Newsfeed algorithm so there would be less emphasis on Facebook pages and more focus on what your friends were sharing. Reach for Facebook pages was expected to plummet, and publishers that had grown addicted to Facebook’s free referral traffic girded themselves for an all-out decimation of their businesses. But while there have been some clear victims of the algorithm change, the actual...

Duration:00:36:37

Why Fortune 100 companies are launching their own podcasts

7/12/2018
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It’s impossible to know which company launched the first branded podcast, but one of the earliest well known examples was GE’s The Message. Produced in collaboration with Panoply, The Message was a science fiction documentary that generated millions of downloads and a rabid fanbase. Ever since GE’s runaway success with the medium, other major brands have waded into the podcast waters, with large companies like Walmart and Goldman Sachs launching their own shows in recent years. But what...

Duration:00:40:15

How an obsession with right wing media spawned a booming newsletter

6/18/2018
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Will Sommer grew up in a conservative household and garnered an early interest in Rush Limbaugh and other right wing media figures. When he went to college, his politics changed, but his obsession with conservative media never went away. In late 2016, that obsession paid off. Sommer was one of the first reporters to write about Pizzagate, the conspiracy theory that a DC pizza parlor was the home of a child sex ring. After a man was arrested for firing a gun inside the restaurant, his...

Duration:00:42:51

How this web designer became the Nate Silver of healthcare reporting

6/12/2018
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Back in 2013, the Obama Administration rolled out a new version of Healthcare.gov, with disastrous results. It was the public unveiling of the Obamacare exchanges that would allow anyone to buy health insurance on the open market, and yet the website was almost impossible to navigate without encountering errors that would prevent you from signing up for insurance. At the time, Charles Gaba was running a freelance web designer business in Michigan and writing for the liberal blog Daily Kos...

Duration:00:51:23

This guy built a $1 million business on top of the Gmail API

5/28/2018
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Every year we get new articles questioning whether “email is dead.” With the proliferation of social media and messaging apps, it seems only natural to ask what will replace a decades-old electronic messaging system that really hasn’t changed much in all the years we’ve used it. But email has remained resilient, and it’s even experienced a renaissance of sorts lately. In the wake of Facebook’s algorithm changes that are designed to hurt content providers, more and more publishers are...

Duration:00:39:16

How publishers monetize their newsletters with paid subscriptions

5/20/2018
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There’s no question that newsletters are on the rise. Legacy publishers are constantly launching new newsletter products. Quartz’s Obsession newsletter, for instance, picks seemingly random topics and goes deeps on them. Vox’s Voxcare newsletter, a favorite of mine, covers new developments in healthcare policy. But we’re also seeing a number of media startups that are producing newsletters without corresponding websites. The Hustle, a business-news oriented newsletter that has over...

Duration:00:28:19

How artists illegally pay their way onto Spotify's playlists

5/7/2018
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With over 150 million users, Spotify has the ability to launch the careers of previously-unknown music artists. It does this by featuring these artists on its playlists, which are maintained by a mixture of users, Spotify staff, and algorithms. Playlists count for half of all listening on Spotify, and getting your song listed on a few of the most influential lists, some of which boast millions of subscribers, has the ability to thrust you onto the Billboard 100 charts. Several rap artists...

Duration:00:34:50

Influencer marketing has a huge fraud problem

5/1/2018
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The influencer marketing industry is estimated to generate $2 billion a year, with $1.6 billion coming from Instagram influencers alone. That number is only set to increase, with 39 percent of marketers saying they plan to increase their influencer marketing budget this year. It’s now pretty much impossible to open up Instagram or YouTube without seeing #sponsored posts popping up from your favorite stars, from Kim Kardashian all the way down to food Instagrammers who only have a few...

Duration:00:41:45

How Think Progress generated $500,000 in donations after Trump was elected

4/23/2018
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Think Progress was founded in 2005 as an offshoot of the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank. What started as a bloggy website has grown into a fully staffed news organization that employs beat writers and conducts investigative reporting. The site has generated real impact, most recently when it published a list of companies that had established corporate partnerships with the NRA. Activists seized on the list and used social media to pressure many of these companies...

Duration:00:47:59

Remembering the blogosphere before the rise of Facebook and Twitter

4/16/2018
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Technorati rankings. Full RSS feeds vs partial RSS feeds. Blogrolls. The Techmeme leaderboards. Blogspot vs Wordpress vs Typepad. If you were a blogger over the mid-aughts, these were just a few of the things you might have obsessed over as you catapulted blog post after blog post into the ether, hoping someone would notice and provide you precious links and send even more precious readers. Back then, the internet felt huge, but the number of actual content producers was tiny compared to...

Duration:01:23:01

What’s behind the explosion in fiction podcasts?

4/9/2018
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Welcome to Night Vale. The Message. Steal the Stars. Homecoming. The Bright Sessions. All are fiction podcasts that have seen downloads in the millions. Some have been optioned for television or film adaptation. All were launched in just the last few years. For much of the early to mid 20th century, millions of listeners tuned in each week to listen to radio dramas and fiction broadcasts in genres ranging from adventure (Superman) to science fiction (War of the Worlds) to crime noir...

Duration:00:37:15

Why podcast apps are developing their own original content

4/2/2018
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Podcasting as a medium has been around for about 13 years now, and for most of that time you’d find that most podcasts were platform agnostic. When a new episode was released, it would appear pretty much simultaneously across all podcast apps. Sure, podcasters placed most of their promotional efforts on iTunes, but that’s because it accounted for most of all podcast listening. But over the last few years, the podcast and audio app space has gotten more competitive, and because of this...

Duration:00:40:39

Should famous music and Hollywood artists have their own media outlet?

3/27/2018
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In 2014, former Major League Baseball player Derek Jeter launched a media company with a novel premise. Called The Players’ Tribune, it’s a sports site that’s produced and written by pro athletes themselves. Many wondered if this would result in what are essentially bland, rewritten press releases that would be typed up by publicists, but in its few years of existence, The Players’ Tribune has produced some astoundingly raw first-person journalism. In 2017, for instance, NBA player Isaiah...

Duration:00:35:58

How the iTunes podcast rankings work

3/18/2018
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If you want to subscribe and listen to podcasts, there are dozens of apps to choose from, including podcast-specific apps like Stitcher and even music streaming apps like Spotify. But anyone who works in the industry knows that Apple is the king of podcasts; its podcast app, which it spun off from iTunes a few years ago, accounts for more than 50 percent of all podcast use. This is why Apple’s podcast rankings can be so important for driving discovery and downloads. There’s one master...

Duration:01:07:26

Meet the guy who wants to slow down the internet

3/6/2018
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This week I interviewed a guy named Ernie Smith. Why do I think Smith is so fascinating? Because over the past decade he’s created two successful media properties, each with the absolute opposite goal of the other. The first was a Tumblr account called ShortFormBlog. It amassed over 140,000 followers and was one of the hyperreactive news aggregators that thrived in the aughts. Every single day Smith logged in and plucked the most interesting quotes and stats from news stories and served...

Duration:00:46:01