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The Big Issue’s first digital editor on using the web to push print

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The Big Issue may have just appointed its first digital editor but the magazine will remain resolutely print-first according to the man who’s taken the post.

Ben Sullivan, who was previously UK editor of Vice Media’s science and technology site Motherboard, is walking into an environment that is unique in the UK publishing landscape.

At a time when decades-old magazines such as NME are closing because they can’t make print pay, The Big Issue’s business model – indeed its entire reason for being – depends upon it.

Founded in 1991 to give the homeless a “hand up not a handout”, the weekly magazine is distributed by some of the poorest people in society who buy copies for £1.25 and sell them on the street for £2.50, keeping the profit.

This modus operandi presents an intriguing challenge for its new digital editor, who has been tasked with growing awareness of the brand online but needs to do so while ushering newfound visitors towards its primary and essential fundraising model – print.

“The Big Issue is first and foremost the magazine,” says Sullivan.

“We want to make the website a kind of 'The Big Issue Plus' destination. There’s a lot we can do to increase the awareness of the website and make BigIssue.com a destination for all sorts of people who are consuming news.”

In print, The Big Issue does not home in on audience demographics in the way that most magazines do, where readers are segmented according to gender, age and so on. Its sellers never know what type of person will be coming down the pavement to buy a copy, and therefore wide editorial appeal is required to put the most possible amount of pounds in their pockets.

The approach is working. While other print titles are seeing their circulations shrinking, the Big Issue’s is growing – up by a modest 1% to 83,073 in 2017 but up by 7% over the last three years, according to the ABCs.

Sullivan says the website has a similarly broad readership but thinks there is an opportunity to reach a younger audience who may not be accustomed to paying for media but do feel strongly about supporting causes that matter to them.

“We’re a trusted brand on the high street and we really want to cement our presence online to be able to support the organisation, and let people know why we exist and what we’re doing," said Sullivan..

“We have an opportunity now to reach a younger audience as well. They’ve grown up aware that The Big Issue’s on the street but because they’re digital-only, mobile-only, they perhaps might not buy the magazine. We’re looking to widen our audience completely and let everyone in."

He added: “Our end goal is dismantling poverty. Ultimately people do want to pay for that and people are happy to put their money behind a really great cause. I think that’s going to be successful in getting a younger audience to put their hand in the pocket.”

Sullivan is planning podcasts, video and mini-documentaries to lure those new audiences and complement the print product. “We talk to a lot of amazing people and we want to make those conversations available to a wider audience online, which will also raise awareness of The Big Issue magazine," he explained.

“[We’re planning] all sorts of multimedia. It will heavily involve our team of vendors and the people who are supporting the Big Issue, giving them the message of The Big Issue and reinforcing that we’re out on the street as well.”

And when it comes to measuring success, Sullivan says there’s one metric that matters above all. “Ultimately that’s measuring the awareness of The Big Issue brand in the UK. Anything we can do to help that is bang on.”

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YouTube gives more creators option to monetize channels

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YouTube is dropping the number of required subscribers for access to Channel Memberships to 50,000, a reversal from the 100,000 threshold it set in June.

Why the change? Previously called Sponsorships, YouTube’s Channel Membership program allows creators to offer $4.99-per-month subscriptions to their channels, giving paid subscribers access to account badges, emojis, members-only posts in the Community tab and exclusive content from creators. The update gives more creators who are trying to grow a loyal fan base on YouTube the opportunity to monetize their channel beyond ads.

Why you should care. The Channel Memberships offer creators a way to monetize their content beyond YouTube ads. One success story, According to YouTube, is Wintergatan, a Swedish instrumental band and designers of the Marble Machine musical instrument. The band reportedly increased revenue more than 50 percent using Channel Memberships. The creators behind the channel, which currently has more than 1 million subscribers, are also using Channel Memberships to provide perks like early access to tickets for concert tours or free tickets to long-term members.

PR Play, a channel with nearly 150,000 subscribers, is using Channel Memberships to offer premium content like driving lessons, and Tristar Gym is offering exclusive Brazilian jiu-jitsu instruction videos.

The post YouTube gives more creators option to monetize channels appeared first on Marketing Land.

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Sharpen your digital marketing skills with an SMX East workshop

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The post Sharpen your digital marketing skills with an SMX East workshop appeared first on Marketing Land.

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The EU’s Competition Commissioner is investigating Amazon

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Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s competition commissioner, said on Wednesday that the oversight agency is looking into Amazon’s business practices.

Why? While acknowledging that hosting third-party merchants provided a benefit for smaller businesses and collecting data had legitimate uses such as improving customer service, she also noted that access to third-party data may give Amazon an unwarranted competitive edge. The effort is a preliminary investigation, not yet having reached the stage of a formal inquiry.

It’s about data. Speaking during a press conference regarding the Luxembourg McDonald’s State Aid case, Vestager responded to a reporter’s question about whether the commission was looking into antitrust concerns raised about Amazon’s use of data collected from merchants hosted on Amazon’s merchant platform.

“The question here is about the data, because if you as Amazon get the data from the smaller merchants that you host — which can be of course completely legitimate because you can improve your service to these smaller merchants — well, do you then also use this data to do your own calculations? What is the new big thing, what is it that people want, what kind of offers do they like to receive, what makes them buy things.”

She said the oversight agency has sent a number of questionnaires to third-party merchants that sell through Amazon to gather more information about the company’s practices.

What it means for Amazon. The inquiry comes at a crucial time as revenue from third-party selling services comprised nearly 20 percent of Amazon’s revenue in the second quarter of 2018. The company this week also launched a new “Storefronts” initiative dedicated exclusively to servicing 20,000 US small and medium-sized businesses featuring more than 1 million products.

While the EU inquiry is limited to the European Union at this point, the company has come under increasing criticism recently, having recently been called out by president Trump as being in a “very antitrust situation.”

The EU also has a history of levying huge fines against US tech giants. The most recent, in July of this year, was a $5 billion antitrust penalty against Google over Google Play and its role in the Android ecosystem.

The EU previously slapped Google with $2.7B antitrust fine for favoring its own content in search results.

The post The EU’s Competition Commissioner is investigating Amazon appeared first on Marketing Land.

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