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Five on Friday: Local News, AI News, Paywalls, More

We put the spotlight on five interesting reads!

In this week’s Five on Friday, we spotlight a groundbreaking move by Washington, D.C., with the introduction of the Local News Funding Act, offering government-funded vouchers to residents, potentially reshaping local journalism support nationwide. Google’s update for validating paywalled content and an article on aligning marketing, sales, and product teams underline the significance of user experience and collaboration. OpenAI’s ChatGPT ventures into web browsing for news, showcasing AI’s evolving capabilities. Meanwhile, a Harvard Business Review piece explores the concept of disintermediation, with relevance to securing recurring revenue streams in platform-based businesses, adding up to a dynamic week of innovation and adaptability in tech, journalism, and business models.

Wooden judge gavel and stack of legal book on table. Laws, legal system and court concept.
Source: Envato Elements

 The Future of Local News? D.C. lawmakers to introduce new bill funding local news via vouchers.


Thanks to AXIOS, we found an interesting bill being introduced in Washington DC that could be a model across the country to support local journalism.

D.C. council members are set to introduce the groundbreaking Local News Funding Act, a bill that would provide government-funded vouchers to city residents for supporting local journalism outlets. If passed, this bill would be the first of its kind in the U.S. and a significant step forward for the struggling local news industry. The program is designed to allocate $11 million annually to subsidize local news for the roughly 670,000 D.C. residents, offering them the opportunity to financially support the local news outlets of their choice, excluding local TV companies. This initiative, developed by the non-profit Democracy Policy Network, reflects growing concerns about the need to bolster local journalism in a democracy and follows similar voucher programs for civic engagement introduced in the U.S.

The introduction of the Local News Funding Act addresses the ongoing challenges local news outlets face and represents an innovative approach to ensure their sustainability while encouraging civic participation. This voucher-based system could serve as a model for other local governments to support their own local news ecosystems, providing an essential lifeline for independent journalism in communities across the country.

Source: Bigstock

Got Paywalls? Google Updates Support for Paywalled Content


If your website offers subscription-based access to its content or requires user registration to access specific materials that you wish to have indexed, Google has introduced an update to its Rich Results Test tool. This enhancement enables you to validate structured data markup for content that is behind paywalls. For detailed information and guidance for your product and technical teams, please refer to Google’s comprehensive documentation here and the meta tag documentation here.

This new feature is designed to assist publishers in accurately marking subscription-based content on their websites. The change comes as part of Google’s ongoing efforts to refine its approach to indexing and presenting paywalled content in search results. While Google aims to guide users to relevant paywalled articles, it also seeks to discourage practices like ‘cloaking,’ where websites display different content to users compared to what they present to Google.

Source: Bigstock

 Alignment Matters! Five Metrics That Matter for Marketing, Sales, and Product Alignment


We found an excellent article for you from MarTech that discusses the importance of aligning marketing, sales, and product teams to enhance the customer experience and offers five key performance indicators (KPIs) to facilitate this alignment:

  • Conversion Rate Across the Funnel: Tracking conversion rates at each stage of the customer journey helps identify bottlenecks, refine strategies, and ensure a seamless transition from awareness to purchase.
  • New Revenue: Monitoring new revenue is crucial for evaluating the success of efforts to expand the customer base, including income from first-time customers, upsells, cross-sells, and new product launches.
  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): Calculating the cost of acquiring a new customer, which encompasses expenses associated with marketing campaigns, advertising, and team salaries, helps measure the efficiency and ROI of customer acquisition strategies.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (LTV): LTV quantifies the long-term value a customer brings to your organization, aiding in enhancing the customer journey and increasing LTV through cumulative revenue generated over the relationship’s duration.
  • Monthly Recurring Revenue (MRR) and Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR): These metrics are essential for subscription-based product or service companies, helping with predictable monthly and annual income, accurate revenue forecasting, and effective resource allocation.

MarTech emphasizes the importance of having common and non-exclusive KPIs across different departments in the sales funnel to motivate teams to collaborate and achieve shared goals, ultimately creating a more cohesive atmosphere and delivering seamless customer experiences. We totally agree!

Source: Bigstock

 AI News Surfing? ChatGPT Unveils Web Browsing Capabilities: NeimanLab Puts it to the News Test


In a recent announcement, OpenAI introduced an internet-browsing feature for ChatGPT, exclusive to paying subscribers. NeimanLab puts it to the test, conducting an in-depth evaluation of ChatGPT’s performance in various aspects of news-related queries. The article investigates how ChatGPT handles real-time information, summarizes ongoing news, navigates polarizing topics, and addresses misinformation. It also explores ChatGPT’s language and region-specific responses. There is good and bad but one thing is for certain, AI tools are getting better quickly! Read the full report here.

Source: Envanto Elements

 Cutting Out The Middleman? Why Customers Leave Platforms


Harvard Business Review says that “platform firms — businesses that enable transactions between two parties — constantly struggle to prevent those partners from taking their deals off-platform. The technical term for this is ‘disintermediation,’ ”  The non-technical term? ‘Cutting out the middleman.’ Think of companies that connect buyers and sellers, such as Amazon, Netflix, AirBNB, or even Uber.

This concept is relevant to recurring revenue in the sense that platforms, to maintain recurring transactions, must continuously add value to their users beyond the initial transaction. Retention! By doing so, they can keep users engaged, encourage repeat business, and ensure that they don’t seek alternatives outside the platform. In this way, the prevention of disintermediation aligns with the goal of securing recurring revenue streams.

Read their full report here.

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