An Indianapolis-based firm is using text messages to share a daily digest of the day’s top stories with subscribers. Each weekday morning, The New Paper curates the day’s top news stories, sharing fact-based information with subscribers, and linking to additional information such as the original source. The goal of the text message news subscription service is to provide a short, sweet weekday digest of fact-based news with readers. The ad-free service is $5 a month after a seven-day free trial.
The New Paper was started by Michael Aft and John Necef, Harvard Business School and Georgetown graduates, who have experience at LinkedIn, The Hustle and Accel-KKR and working on Wall Street. They raised $300,000 in pre-seed funding last year, including $80,000 from a pitch competition held by Indiana state-backed venture capital fund Elevate Ventures. The result of Aft’s and Necef’s work is The New Paper which has been in private beta testing for the last six months. Since the launch of the text message news subscription service, the company has attracted more than 7,000 paid subscribers and $400,000 annualized recurring revenue.
“It’s hard work to stay informed on what’s happening in the world since the news is dominated by clickbait and sensational content,” said Michael Aft and John Necef, co-founders of The New Paper, in the August 31 launch announcement. “We make it easy with the first-ever text message-based news digest. We initially focused on SMS because text messages have a 98% open rate, as opposed to email which is only 20%, but in the future we plan to develop an ecosystem of news products that offer the first touch of daily news across channels.”
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On their website, The New Paper cites three primary benefits of their text message news subscription service:
- The fact-first news is curated by humans, eliminating clickbait and prioritizing the day’s top news stories in technology, business, politics and world affairs.
- The clear, concise stories are led with facts, not opinions or commentary, and they link to additional information.
- Once-daily text messages are quick and easy to access.
“No sensationalism. No clickbait. No bias,” says The New Paper.
All user data is kept confidential.
“We take user data and privacy extremely seriously. We never have and never will use user information for any other purpose than providing The New Paper’s service,” said Aft. “All subscriptions are managed securely by Memberful with Stripe as the payments processor. Stripe is a certified Level 1 PCI Service Provider (the most stringent level of certification available).
Feedback from users has been positive so far. Here are samples of a few testimonials provided by The New Paper:
We were excited to hear about the launch of this tool. As Aft and Necef stated, the open rate for SMS is quite high, making it a great platform for a text message news subscription service like this. It is 100% opt-in, so non-subscribers will not get spammed, and it is refreshing to see that a media curation company wants to strip out the hype to deliver just the facts. The company’s early numbers are encouraging, and we expect to see those grow exponentially as word of The New Paper spreads. Keys to their ongoing success will be quality content, consistency and a simple user experience.