Media Insider: Forbes Launches Newsletter Platform, NBCUniversal to Shutter Sports Network, Facebook News Launches in UK

Welcome to Media Insider, PR Newswire’s round-up of media stories from the week.

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Forbes Expands Paid Newsletter Platform for ‘Journalist Entrepreneurs’

Forbes Media plans to start a newsletter publishing service that lets journalists make money from subscriptions and advertising. The publisher will split subscription revenue 50/50 with its newsletter writers, giving them a cut of advertising revenue without any cap on potential earnings. The ad revenue is based on page views and recurring visitors. The “Journalist Entrepreneurs” program is part of the publisher’s effort to diversify its revenue, which mostly comes from advertising. It also comes as more journalists start publishing email newsletters with platforms like Substack, which shares subscription revenue with writers. The publisher will hire 20-30 writers to help with the launch.

Meanwhile, Twitter has acquired Revue, a service that helps individuals publish email newsletters.

Ex-CNN Executive Starts Media Venture for Communities of Color

Former CNN executive S. Mitra Kalita and Philadelphia radio executive Sara Lomax-Reese have launched a newsletter seeking to expand local news on Black and brown communities to national audiences. Some ethnic newspapers and local news sites focusing on people of color have suffered in recent years. The URL Media newsletter wants to bring their unique content together to attract big advertisers and facilitate underreported news. URL, which stands for Uplift, Respect and Love, has signed eight media partners, including the Brooklyn-based Haitian Times and Durham, N.C.-based Scalawag. Kalita says she is in talks with other public radio stations and nonprofit media outlets about joining to create a go-to place for news about Black, Latino, and Asian American communities in various cities.

ICYMI: The Supreme Court heard arguments last week in a case about diversity in media ownership.

NBCUniversal Will Shutter Its Sports Network at End of Year

NBCUniversal plans to axe its cable sports channel NBCSN at the end of 2021 and shift some of its sports programming to the USA Network as part of a “larger transition” within the company, according to an internal memo. Later this year, USA Network will start carrying or simulcasting certain NBC Sports offerings, including NASCAR races and NHL Stanley Cup Playoff games, the memo from NBC Sports Group chairman Pete Bevacqua says. Starting in 2022, after NBCSN goes dark, some programming will also be shouldered by Peacock.

Read next: Conservative media brand The Daily Wire is moving into entertainment.

Facebook News Launches in the UK, the First International Market for Its Curated News Portal

Facebook has launched News in the UK, the company’s first market outside of the U.S. for its dedicated, curated news portal, accessed through a tab in the Android or iOS app menu. The portal launched with content from hundreds of local and national media organizations, including Channel 4 News, Daily Mail Group, DC Thomson, Financial Times, Sky News and Telegraph Media Group, The Economist, The Guardian, The Independent, and STV. Hundreds of local news sites and lifestyle titles, like GQ, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Vogue, were announced in an earlier list of partners last year. Facebook will be working with a service called Upday to curate the stories that appear on News. “The product is a mix of curated, top stories and personalized links chosen by algorithm,” a spokesperson said.

Speaking of Facebook, the company reported its best ad quarter in more than two years.

Medill Survey Finds News Media’s Money Worries Overwhelming, But Few See Ads as Best Answer

The financial distress threatening the future of the local news industry is now a pervasive concern of those working in the media business, and few of them see advertising revenue as the best path forward, according to a new survey by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications. Asked which new business model holds the most promising path forward, 26.8% chose conversion from commercial to nonprofit status, while 24.8% cited a shift to reliance on reader revenue such as subscriptions, and just 7.1% picked growing advertising revenue. “This shows that local journalists and leaders have conceded that advertising revenue predominantly is not the future for them, which is a very stark reversal from where we were not that long ago,” said Tim Franklin, head of the Medill Local News Initiative. “In historical terms, that’s just a huge sea change in the business model for local news.”

Read the full survey results for more insight.

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Maria Perez is Director, Web Operations at Cision. In her spare time, she runs Bags of Love Foundation, a local nonprofit that provides cancer patients with care packages aimed at making their treatment more comfortable. She also enjoys kickboxing, baking, and cuddling with her dog Toody, who thinks he rules the world.

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