Substack Just hit a major milestone. Can major media agencies strike back?

Substacks announced Second that there are more than a million paid subscriptions to publications on its platform — or, as the company puts it, “a million reasons to believe this opportunity is greater than anyone guessed.” Follow with NiemanLab, Substack now has twice as many subscriptions as there are subscriptions 10 months ago and four times more than December 2020. “These are formerly non-existent subscriptions — they are not extracted from traditional media or redistributed from other platforms,” Substack wrote in a post. “They represent a new influx of money into the media ecosystem, much of which goes directly to writers.”

NS newsletter platform, boasting famous writers like Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, Bari Weiss, and Matt Yglesias, tout the achievement as an affirmation that “everyone to be willing to pay writers they trust” and “new types of publications serving previously overlooked communities maybe success.” Top 10 newsletters together earn over $20 million per year, co-founder Hamish McKenzie noted. Nieman points out that a million subscribers doesn’t mean a million subscribers. “Paid subscribers make up a small fraction — about 5 to 10 percent — of Substack’s total readership,” the outlet reports, with more than 500,000 “out of millions of active readers” paying for at least a substack.

Almost a year ago, my colleague Joe Pompeo Written that “for all the hard talk about Substack’s vision, it’s hard to imagine a massive exodus — at least a voluntary exodus — from the major media organisations”, argues that “a steady paycheck is still a steady paycheck and it still counts for something to tell a source you’re calling from a publication like New York Times, NS Atlantic, or Politico. “While journalists at major media companies are certainly not in a hurry to withdraw, there has been a lot of turmoil in the industry since then. Charlie Warzel, for one, jumped from Times put Substack in Atlantic, which one is between legacy media have launched paid newsletter program in response to the Substack boom. In a recent post announced he will be leave substack, Warzel said he had amassed more than 1,400 paid subscribers over seven months on the platform, and admitted that the move was less lucrative than he had hoped. Send his newsletter Atlantic, he notes that he’ll be able to “collaborate inside an organization again while also having my own little trackpad so I can do my thing.”

One such option, Axios’s Sara Fischer and Nicholas Johnston Write, very little compared to mainstream platforms before the recent exodus to Substack, a trend where “the threat to newsrooms has been greatly exaggerated” but has ultimately “propelled newsrooms to create programs that give writers more money, autonomy, and flexibility.” In the face of a changing digital media landscape, legacy publishers are resilient: Times this early year launched a number of subscriber-only newsletters, some written by non-subscribersTimes workers; Forbes paid newsletter platform debut in January allowed writers to split subscription revenue among their newsletters 50/50 with the publisher; NS Atlanticnewsletter program of, count Molly Jong-Fast and Nicole Chung of its nine authors, will give bidders “the ability to earn extra money if they hit certain subscriber goals” follow to Vox; and information just revealed a newsletter network.

As traditional publishers adapt to newsletter trends, new players seem to be heeding the emerging matching options that have drawn journalists like Warzel back to the newsroom. “The newsletter boom will create new platforms that cater to creators looking for a happy middle ground between newsroom support and independence,” Fischer and Johnston write, citing fledgling companies Lede and Working week as recent examples.

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