Advertisers bought into a vision — and a deal structure that offered little safety net if that vision wasn't realized. When we think about a premium subscription, it’s more about features that people get access to. The goal of 1 million subscribers isn’t a mere vanity metric; it represents the crossing over into a position of greater financial stability for The Atlantic. The 162-year-old media company’s digital pivot to paid comes nearly two years after rumors started that The Atlantic would go back in that direction and a year and a half after then-president Bob Cohn declared that a paywall would be erected in early 2018. We’re really confident in our differentiation in this marketplace. That number is three times the amount the group anticipated accruing in two years, says Finnegan, and puts the Atlantic over halfway toward its goal of reaching one million subscribers by the end of 2022. One year ago, we launched our new subscription strategy, beginning what we at the time called “a new chapter in the history of The Atlantic.” Even in saying those words then, I don’t think many of us realized how accurate they would be. Atlantic Media President Michael Finnegan (MBA '07) discusses the importance of cross-sector collaboration with Professor Mary Margaret Frank at a UVA Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows event at the UVA Darden Sands Family Grounds in Rosslyn, Virginia. It looked at willingness to pay across 5,000 people. Are These the Comments That Got Chad Dukes Fired From 106.7 the Fan? The Best Reactions to the Jeffrey Toobin “Zoom Dick” Incident. Yet by the spring of 2019, the paywall had not yet materialized, and there was no firm timetable in place for when one would. TikTok and Shopify announced that Shopify merchants can now create and run TikTok campaigns from directly within the Shopify dashboard. Being able to take the key things out of the Masthead, like ad-free browsing, gift subscriptions, the more personal reward of supporting ambitious reporting and other features we’ll emphasize, those are still present or are going to be present in the premium membership. Ten million people have read Goldberg’s article. And from other subscribers, well into the latter stages of their lives, who have been reading us for decades. Readers decide to become subscribers only because of an exceptional product. As Frank posed a series of wide-ranging questions provided by the current student fellows, Finnegan’s responses touched on the transformation of the media industry from print to digital media, as well as the impact of social media and “fake news” on journalism. Every single person has placed a value, in tremendously difficult times, on The Atlantic’s extraordinary work. What’s success going to look like one year out? Some DC Businesses Are Already Boarding Up in Advance of Election Day, Radio Host Chad Dukes Fired by 106.7 the Fan for Alleged Racist Comments, How a High School Journalist Bagged a Huge Scoop—About Her Superintendent, Politico Tells Employees They Should Plan to Work From Home at Least Through Next Summer, The Washington Post Ends Its Regional Homepage, Lee Enterprises Posts Ad Looking for Ashley Spinks’s Replacement. Our most popular stories of the week, sent every Saturday. Highly ambitious. As we build our consumer-revenue discipline, we are at the same time bolstering our client-facing businesses at Atlantic Re:think, Atlantic 57, Atlantic Ventures, and AtlanticLIVE. How’d you come up with the price and the height of the paywall? The Masthead was styled as a membership, and this is more a subscription. We are over halfway to our 1 million goal, and have just begun a critical moment: our first renewal cycle with those who joined us on this new journey within the last year—beginning, of course, with our most loyal early adopters who signed up the first moments of our metered paywall last September. The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Audience interest, audience willingness to pay. Jeffrey Goldberg’s reporting on the President’s comments about our armed forces last week has driven the national conversation. That brings opportunity and danger for an ad industry tied tightly to the economy. Here’s How to Help. The outlet has also experienced a record number of readers via the site in general, says Finnegan, and saw almost 90 million unique views in March. ZunzS@darden.virginia.edu All rights reserved. While the examples over the last year are too many to list, I can’t write without acknowledging the most recent. To discuss the journey The Atlantic’s been on, Digiday spoke to Atlantic Media’s president, Michael Finnegan. Editorial and product teams have worked well together, but this is sort of a new initiative. The entirety of Finnegan’s letter to the Atlantic staff is included below: From Michael Finnegan, President of Atlantic Media. Finnegan’s discussion and audience Q&A followed a first-ever Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows networking reception at the new UVA Darden Sands Family Grounds in the Rosslyn district of downtown Arlington, Virginia. Sign up for our newsletters to have Darden news delivered directly to your inbox. The subscription landscape has gotten a lot more crowded. Zara Erismann, MD Publisher EU, LiveRamp In today’s market of tightening data regulations — and with the end of third-party cookies now around the corner — it is critical that publishers focus on optimizing their data strategies to ensure and strengthen close relationships with their audience. Jeffrey Goldberg’s reporting on the, As we build our consumer-revenue discipline, we are at the same time bolstering our client-facing businesses at, a letter sent to staff by Atlantic Media president Michael Finnegan, a new three-tiered subscription model and site paywall, President Trump’s comments concerning the military, President’s comments about our armed forces. It easily leads to value, but it’s accessible to a large enough number of people that we can have a nice financial outcome. This is not a new thing for us. At the kickoff event for the recent UVA Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows program’s two-day field experience in Washington, D.C., University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Mary Margaret Frank led a fireside chat with Atlantic Media President Michael Finnegan (MBA ‘07), in which he discussed “the business of freedom of speech.” Finnegan addressed the importance of cross-sector and cross-disciplinary leadership perspectives within Atlantic Media’s operations and wider sociopolitical environment of the media industry. Even bracing. On Thursday, The Atlantic formally announced its paywall and three subscription tiers, ranging from $49.99 to $100 per year. Our readers have demonstrated how much they value our reporting, with a record 20,000 subscriptions in just five days. The Atlantic is the latest media organization to get whacked by the COVID-19 economic downturn. f; t; in; By … It’s Absolutely Heartbreaking to Watch Washington Boarding Up for an Election. While leading business strategy and operations, Finnegan said he also deals with a “variety of legal and policy issues as we lobby for the best interests of our industry.” While he relies on the specific skills and expertise of his legal, banking, public policy and other team members, he serves as a “utility player” through his role as president who is able to lead across all of these areas. This is the sound of shifting gears in our consumer strategy.”. I think audiences and content consumers are becoming more aware that the content they consume has value. Who leads that effort? This result is astonishing by every measure. We were able to see various pricing cliffs of where people changed their purchasing decisions. Director of Media Relations One thing that’s interesting is the attempts to build a daily habit. I might propose that you call us up in six months. He is accepting new patients. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Who’s in charge of making sure that happens? This comes after the outlet introduced a new three-tiered subscription model and site paywall a year ago. But we don’t want to call it one unless we’re offering something that is demonstrably different from a subscription. It means that vast numbers of readers are contributing $50 million in revenue to our business and sustaining the work we are called to do. Now one of our greatest responsibilities is to convince those hundreds of thousands of subscribers that we’re worthy of their support for years, and decades, to come. Her work has appeared in Outside Magazine, Washington City Paper, DCist, and PoPVille. A large portion of this subscription bump has come during the pandemic: the Atlantic received 100,000 new subscribers in May and June, says Finnegan, and subscriptions jumped by 20,000 after editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg published his piece on President Trump’s comments concerning the military. The data doesn’t drive the decisions, but it’s going to be more robust as we make decisions about user experience and specific product features. Originally from North Carolina, she now lives in Petworth. Get the latest from our editors today. In a recent report, The State of Publishing: Monetizing […]. First, we have to remember how we earn every subscription. $49.99 sort of hit a nice sweet spot. Follow @Digiday for the latest news, insider access to events and more. I think there’s some truth in labeling. We engage readers directly in their mailboxes with topics like Health, Things to Do, Best Brunches, Design & Shopping, and Real Estate. Finnegan referred to digital media as the company’s “life raft.” For Atlantic Media, the transition has been a successful one, with the company’s estimated annual revenues at nearly $150 million. Finnegan acknowledged that Atlantic Media, like many news organizations, has had to take extra precautions to protect their employees against violent threats. Arriving at this point will be nothing short of transformational––both in terms of balancing our revenue portfolio for the long-term and for setting us on a path of long-term loyalty from a growing body of dedicated subscribers to our journalism.

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