- Digital Media Products, Strategy and Innovation by Kevin Anderson
- Lucy Keung: Media's middle managers need more support to thrive under multiple pressures
Lucy Keung: Media's middle managers need more support to thrive under multiple pressures
Bloomberg: Subscription businesses are more 'honest' and drive better products
In my master’s dissertation, I looked at the issue of professional well-being for product managers in news organisations, which used a framework to assess whether they were thriving, surviving or burning out. Middle managers (and even some senior managers) are getting burnt out with multiple demands on them, says media strategy expert and advisor Lucy Keung. There are pressures on the business, pressures to deliver great journalism, and pressure to manage generational conflict in newsrooms (my term not Lucy’s). And with pressures on the business, middle managers are often not given the training that they need to navigate these challenges.
Throughout my career even long before the pressures on the business grew to the level that they are at now, I have seen wild variability in how journalists are supported in their transition to managers. This is an important call to action for media companies to continue to invest in professional development, especially for those members of staff who graduate to management and leadership roles.
Subscriber growth might have slowed but they are seeing success with retention. For acquisition, they are using an in-house built dynamic paywall. While they use some technology from Chargebee, chief digital officer Julia Beizer says that anything that is core to their strategy they want as much control over it as possible. The three main pillars of their revenue are advertising, subscriptions, and events. Subscriptions has grown “faster than we anticipated, and certainly than we modeled”, Beizer said.
One of the things that she says that I hear more and more often is how subscription businesses drive better products. Beizer describes this as an honest business. “So the benefit of being in subscription businesses is unbelievably clarifying and has really helped us say, hey, what do our subscribers need? Great, we're going to develop that,” she said.
Leesha Anderson, the vice president of digital marketing and social media at the advertising agency Outcast, said that clients are abandoning X for platforms like TikTok and LinkedIn. Advertisers have options, and they are voting with their feet.