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March 19, 2020

virus Content Poses Tactical Challenges for Publishers


Digiday: Reader worry – and work from home policies – are driving a surge in news consumption about the coronavirus, with pageviews up 30% year over year, according to Parsely data. But publishers face a tough choice when it comes to using this reader interest. Even though readers are intensely worried in coronavirus coverage, it is difficult to monetize with advertising, with advertisers throwing keywords associated with the virus onto block lists. What’s more, as the scope of the virus’s impact widens, publishers also face pressure to move their stories about the virus in front of their paywalls, stunting a key area of revenue growth. Approaches to this uncomfortable problem vary. Some publishers are creating coronavirus exceptions for their paywalls. At Tribune Publishing, coronavirus stories are whitelisted at editors’ discretion, and they count toward readers’ monthly article limits, though readers who have reached their monthly limit can still read those whitelisted stories, a source familiar with the strategy said.Some publishers are treating it as an opportunity to spread their content to as many new readers as possible. The Wall Street Journal began assembling a standalone section of free coronavirus content last month, with a running feed of news updates, a Q&A section of their site, and daily videos all available for free, without limit. To ensure that its coronavirus content gets the biggest possible reach, the Journal has been embedding messages in its coronavirus stories encouraging readers to share that content with their friends and family to maximize its exposure. Others are extracting a bit more information in exchange for their content. The New York Times, for example, still requires that visitors register to read content on its site, though coronavirus coverage does not count against its paywall meter. The Times did not make an executive available to discuss its strategy. Some business-focused publications have gone the other way. The Wrap, for example, which covers film and television, has moved more of its reporters onto a unit dedicated to producing content for the Wrap Pro, a premium subscription product it launched in 2018"...

Digiday 

 
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