The pivot to paid is on for publishers. The days of relying solely on ad revenue are over. Now, it's back to basics, which means building a balanced revenue portfolio with a meaningful contribution from subscriptions and membership programs. Shifting to direct revenue brings with it many challenges, from crafting the right plan for your audience, to managing churn, to building a base of direct connections to convert, to deciding whether to emphasize access through a metered or paywall model or extra perks in a membership.

Digiday Hot Topic: Subscriptions & Memberships will explore all the major issues modern publishers are facing in developing this critical piece of their businesses.

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Speakers

  • Julia Beizer
    CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER
    BLOOMBERG MEDIA
  • Henry Embleton
    HEAD OF AD PRODUCTS & REVENUE
    ELLATION
  • Laura Evans
    SVP, DATA AND INSIGHTS
    THE NEW YORK TIMES
  • Amy Fitzgibbons
    CMO
    STITCHER
  • Emily Goligoski
    RESEARCH director
    MEMBERSHIP PUZZLE PROJECT
  • Emilie Harkin
    SENIOR director OF CUSTOMER MARKETING AND GROWTH
    THE ATLANTIC
  • Mia Libby
    CRO
    THE DAILY BEAST
  • Mather Lindsay
    CEO
    MATHER ECONOMICS
  • Siobhan O’Connor
    VP, EDITORIAL
    MEDIUM
  • Esfand Pourmand
    SVP, REVENUE
    HEARST NEWSPAPERS
  • Nushin Rashidian
    CO-FOUNDER
    CANNABIS WIRE
  • Geoff Schiller
    CRO, GLOBAL
    POPSUGAR
  • Michael Silberman
    SVP, STRATEGY
    PIANO
    LinkedIn Icon
  • Jed Williams
    CIO
    LOCAL MEDIA ASSOCIATION

Agenda

Thursday, August 16

  • 8:30 a.m.
    Breakfast and Networking
  • 9:00 a.m.
    State of the Industry and the Digiday Fishbowl

    We'll review the top five trends impacting the industry right now, and attendees will submit their own challenges to the Digiday Fishbowl.

    • Max Willens

      PLATFORMS REPORTER

      DIGIDAY

  • 9:20 a.m.
    Content Worth Paying For?

    Siobhan O’Connor, vp of editorial at Medium, knows what compels her platform’s users to subscribe. Over a year after Medium first launched their subscriptions program, learn about how they’re persuading users to invest in high-quality writing and the authors behind the content, and what they’re doing to make more of it.

    • Siobhan O’Connor

      VP, EDITORIAL

      MEDIUM

  • 9:40 a.m.
    A Personal Touch

    Personalization was once held up as a holy grail for publishers looking to grow their ad revenue. But it can also be useful for subscription publishers, bringing their readers closer to the content being consumed. Hear Julia Beizer, chief product officer at Bloomberg Media, speak about how personalization can propel the bottom line, through both ads and subscriptions.

    • Julia Beizer

      CHIEF PRODUCT OFFICER

      BLOOMBERG MEDIA

    Moderator
    Max Willens
  • 10:00 a.m.
    Subscription Data: From Exposure to Retention

    As media companies focus increasingly on driving user engagement and reader revenue, understanding the funnel is essential. Learn the best practices that impact success and improve performance.

    • Michael Silberman

      SVP, STRATEGY

      PIANO

  • 10:15 a.m.
    How -- and Why -- to Make a Shapeshifting Paywall

    Why build a hard paywall when you can make a personalized one? Hearst’s newspapers use a paywall that changes size and shape depending on who’s visiting. Learn from Hearst’s svp of revenue, Esfand Pourmand, about why they’ve adopted this model and how a customized paywall can foster trust and engagement with readers.

    • Esfand Pourmand

      SVP, REVENUE

      HEARST NEWSPAPERS

  • 10:35 a.m.
    Networking Break
  • 10:50 a.m.
    A Tough Sell?

    Pivoting to paid sounds great...except to your head of sales. Mia Libby, CRO of The Daily Beast discusses how publishers can navigate and balance the conflicting priorities of advertising and consumer revenue. She’ll talk about how to win over an ad-supported operation, and get them on board with pursuing consumer revenue.

    • Mia Libby

      CRO

      THE DAILY BEAST

    Moderator
    Jack Marshall
  • 11:10 a.m.
    The Kindness of Strangers

    What's the difference between a member and a subscriber? It's not a semantic difference. Instead, pursuing members, rather than subscribers, could radically alter the strategy a publisher uses to grow consumer revenue and evolve as a business. Membership Puzzle Project research director Emily Goligoski explains.

    • Emily Goligoski

      RESEARCH DIRECTOR

      MEMBERSHIP PUZZLE PROJECT

  • 11:30 a.m.
    Pro/Am

    When you cover a topic that has interest to both a general interest reader and a policy wonk, how do you balance your coverage to appeal to both of them? Can you turn them both into subscribers? Nushin Rashidian, co-founder of Cannabis Wire, explains how she thinks about this balance as she covers marijuana's changing place in our society.

    • Nushin Rashidian

      CO-FOUNDER

      CANNABIS WIRE

    Moderator
    Max Willens
  • 11:50 a.m.
    How to Crack Customer Service

    Acquiring customers is great. Managing and appeasing them is another story. Maintaining customer satisfaction can be a difficult, time-consuming, expensive and unfamiliar exercise. Hear Emilie Harkin, senior director of customer marketing and growth at The Atlantic, speak about how her team is working to keep their customers happy, without overextending their staff.

    • Emilie Harkin

      SENIOR DIRECTOR OF CUSTOMER MARKETING AND GROWTH

      THE ATLANTIC

    Moderator
    Jack Marshall
  • 12:15 p.m.
    Lunch
  • 1:15 p.m.
    Small Town Success Stories

    Consumer revenue isn’t only an opportunity for household name publishers. Sometimes being a small-scale operation can work in your favor, helping you to build trust and add value to your communities. Hear from Jed Williams, chief innovation officer of the Local Media Association, as he shares stories of smaller publishers pursuing consumer revenue successfully.

    • Jed Williams

      CIO

      LOCAL MEDIA ASSOCIATION

  • 1:35 p.m.
    Panel: What Role Do the Platforms Play?

    The platforms are the swimming pool that every ad-supported publisher plays in. It seems like everyone’s always talking about them, but what role do they play for publishers who are hunting for subscription revenue? What role should they play? We open the stage to several publishing execs to discuss the platforms’ place in making money for publishers.

    • Jed Williams

      CIO

      LOCAL MEDIA ASSOCIATION

    • Mather Lindsay

      CEO

      MATHER ECONOMICS

    Moderator
    Max Willens
  • 2:00 p.m.
    A Different Proposition

    The economics and strategy of marketing an ad-supported product are completely different from the ones used on a subscription product. Finding space for the two to co-exist can be a tricky task. Hear from Mather Lindsay, CEO of Mather Economics, as he discusses how -- and also if -- a publisher can pursue ad dollars and subscriptions at the same time.

    • Mather Lindsay

      CEO

      MATHER ECONOMICS

    Moderator
    Max Willens
  • 2:20 p.m.
    What's Free and What Isn't?

    How much should your ad-supported product differ from your subscription product? And how do you strike the balance between nudging your ad-supported users down the funnel and annoying them? Henry Embleton, head of ad products and revenue at Ellation, explains.

    • Henry Embleton

      HEAD OF AD PRODUCTS & REVENUE

      ELLATION

    Moderator
    Max Willens
  • 2:40 p.m.
    What's in the Box?

    What if you don’t want to sell content, but a product? For PopSugar, their Must Have subscription box is a way to delight and surprise customers, in a tactile way. Listen to Geoff Schiller, chief revenue officer of PopSugar, as he explains how Must Have developed alongside the other facets of his business, and how product works to enhance their brand.

    • Geoff Schiller

      CRO, GLOBAL

      POPSUGAR

    Moderator
    Brian Morrissey
  • 3:00 p.m.
    Networking Break
  • 3:15 p.m.
    Town Hall

    Participants will meet to discuss the biggest challenges their organizations are facing, and work together to come up with potential solutions.

    • Max Willens

      PLATFORMS REPORTER

      DIGIDAY

  • 3:45 p.m.
    Building a Premium Audio Experience

    How do you leverage a mobile app environment to drive consumer engagement and loyalty while also building a funnel for subscription trials? Hear from Amy Fitzgibbons, chief marketing officer at Stitcher, as she discusses how the leading podcast brand has faced – and worked around – challenges as it builds a growing audience of podcast fans in a premium environment.

    • Amy Fitzgibbons

      CMO

      STITCHER

    Moderator
    Brian Morrissey
  • 4:05 p.m.
    What Do Your Customers Really Want?

    Knowing who your customer is and what they want is important for any publisher. Hear from Laura Evans, svp, data and insights at the New York Times, as she walks through how to gather, store and analyze the data that helps a publisher figure out a customer’s wants, and how they tell you.

    • Laura Evans

      SVP, DATA AND INSIGHTS

      THE NEW YORK TIMES

    Moderator
    Brian Morrissey
  • 4:25 p.m.
    Panel: What if Information Would Prefer to be Expensive?

    As more publishers pivot to consumer revenue, many ad-supported publishers have begun to wonder: What happens -- to the publishing ecosystem, to society -- if everything goes behind a paywall? Join several publishing execs as they debate and discuss the ramifications of paywalls.

    • Henry Embleton

      HEAD OF AD PRODUCTS & REVENUE

      ELLATION

    • Emily Goligoski

      RESEARCH DIRECTOR

      MEMBERSHIP PUZZLE PROJECT

    Moderator
    Max Willens
  • 4:50 p.m.
    5 Things We've Learned

    We’ll summarize the event with the top themes that have emerged through a full day of content.

     

    • Brian Morrissey

      EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

      DIGIDAY

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