illustration of the number five, representing the five subscription business topics for this column, Five-on-Friday

Five on Friday: Fake News, Twitter Conversations and Top Subscription Jobs

Featuring Google, Twitter, Sublytics and LinkedIn

We are kicking off the first Five on Friday of April with a focus on news. Google plans to contribute $29 million to a new EU fund to fight fake news and misinformation, newsrooms are using Twitter Conversations to engage with readers, and Axios and The Athletic are considering a merger. Also this week, we share a preview of The Essential Subscription Data Guide and top subscription jobs from LinkedIn.

Google to Contribute $29M to New EU Fund to Fight Fake News and Misinformation

The European Union has set up the European Media and Information Fund to fight fake news and misinformation, and Google is contributing €25, or $29.3 million. The five-year fund was created by Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation and the European University Institute last week to fight fake news and promote media literacy with the help of researchers, fact-checkers, not-for-profit support and other organizations with the public interest at heart.

“I welcome the creation of this innovative fund that brings together various stakeholders to support media literacy and fact-checking initiatives against disinformation. I have no doubts that we need all-hands-on-board approach including a collaboration of private and public entities to address the threat of disinformation. I fully endorse strong safeguards that will guarantee the independence of the fund and I encourage private donors to participate in it. The Commission will continue to work closely with EDMO and support its objectives,” said Věra Jourová, European Commission vice-president for values and transparency.

Google, who was the first organization to contribute to the fund, said their five-year commitment will support the new fund with three specific goals in mind:

  • Help adults and young people strength their media literacy skills
  • Support and scale the important work of fact-checkers
  • Strengthen the expertise, research and resources needed to fight fake news and misinformation

“Our commitment today builds on our previous grants to fact checkers and nonprofits, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines, and our work to tackle misinformation in the run up to other major events, such as elections. Since 2015, we’ve provided funding and technical support to organizations focused on misinformation, including innovative new models like CrossCheck in France, and provided digital verification training to 90,000 European journalists, receiving over 400,000 visits to our training website,” said Matt Brittin, president of Google Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

LinkedIn: Top Subscription Jobs

Director of Social Media
El Segundo, CA

As the Director of Social Media at Fabletics, you will be responsible for defining and executing an innovative social media strategy in addition to developing campaigns that deliver measurable business results. This position collaborates with key internal stakeholders across PR, Creative, Product, Marketing and Merchandising to create the social content strategy. The ideal candidate will have a strong background in strategic planning within the social and digital space and experience developing and implementing highly successful social media campaigns. Read more.

Senior Manager, Subscription Marketing
New York, NY

Our ideal candidate sits at the intersection of brand and growth who is adept at full-funnel, fully-integrated planning and is comfortable crafting compelling product narratives that introduce, educate, and ultimately bring new customers into Tripadvisor Plus. This role is truly 50% creative and 50% analytical as you will need to balance creative thinking from a consumer lens with a data-driven mindset to support the execution and optimization of new customer acquisition and lifecycle marketing campaigns. Read more.

Senior SVOD Manager
The Roku Channel
Santa Monica, CA

We are seeking senior talent to join the The Roku Channel SVOD team focused on Premium Subscriptions. In this role, you will drive major business initiatives across various SVOD growth areas, including programming, analytics, marketing and strategy. The role also will play an integral part in helping to inform the decisions that will shape the future of the subscription and transactional experience in The Roku Channel, globally. You will be responsible for working cross functionally to conduct market research and develop data-driven solutions and recommendations for improving the experience for The Roku Channel and our content partners. To be successful, the candidate will need to be comfortable modeling out projections based on new business strategies, break down complex projects into actionable steps, collaborate with our product and engineering teams to influence core features, and communicate results effectively to senior leadership. Read more.

Senior Manager, Media Strategy and Operations
Remote, OR

The Senior Manager of Media Strategy & Operations will be instrumental in developing initiatives that contribute directly to the media team’s growth, and will help provide direction to improve the efficacy of the Media team. This is a highly visible role that will interact with cross functional groups throughout HubSpot and the Marketing Leadership team. This integral role requires a natural ability to build strong, trusting partnerships across the Media team and broader HubSpot organization while driving key initiatives, cross-functional projects and ensuring effective communications and deliverables. This person should be a highly resourceful individual who thrives in a fast-moving, complex environment. Read more.

Senior Manager, Influencer & Ambassador Marketing
Rent the Runway
Brooklyn, NY

We are looking for a Senior Manager of Influencer Marketing to oversee the strategy, results, and talented team responsible for paid influencer and ambassador marketing. In 2021, you will have the opportunity to re-architect and rebuild the programs, timed with our brand’s reemergence from the COVID crisis. This role is truly 50% analytical and 50% creative. Our ideal candidate is a brand storyteller, culture maven, and community builder – while also being laser-focused on customer acquisition, comfortable with analysis and digging deep into data, and excited to find different growth levers to scale the channel efficiently. This role reports into the Sr. Director of Growth Marketing. Read more.

Preview: The Essential Subscription Data Guide by Sublytics

We were fortunate enough to get a 30-day preview of chapter 1 of The Essential Subscription Data Guide published by Sublytics. The first chapter dives into some meaty material right away, focusing on customer retention and the importance of defining what success looks like for your company. Sublytics said you can analyze retention by answering two questions:

  1. How do you define an active subscriber? For example, Joe has been an active subscriber for three years, but he skips 75% of his shipments. Cyndi, on the other hand, is a new customer, but she has not skipped a shipment and drives higher value for your subscription company. Do you want to measure or define these subscribers the same way? Probably not.
  2. When is my customer retention cliff and why? Review your cycle-to-cycle retention rates to see where the dips occur most often. Then identify whether subscriber loss is due to active or passive churn and what caused the highest churn (e.g., discounts, source of the acquisition, product, etc.).

With the right subscription-focused analytics you can gain a lot of data with which to make future decisions. Sublytics offers these key takeaways when analyzing your company’s retention:

  • Define active subscriber.
  • Look beyond standard metrics to identify retention shifts and their causes.
  • Analyze customer retention by unique charge frequency.
  • Review active vs. passive churn data.

For more on retention and subscription data, visit

Image courtesy of Sublytics

Newsrooms and Journalists Use Twitter Conversation Settings for More Targeted Conversations

Twitter has added new conversation settings to encourage users to have more targeted conversations. For example, users can now choose who can reply to your tweets – anyone (default setting), people you follow, or only people you mention. Twitter says this makes conversations more meaningful and avoids “unwelcome replies.”

Twitter reports that news outlets and journalists are using the new conversation settings to have one-on-one conversations and interviews with others.

“Conversation settings enables newsrooms to host meaningful public conversations with their journalists and guests in a streamlined way,” said Niketa Patel, senior news partnerships manager at Twitter.

Image courtesy of Twitter and Reuters.

Reuters has used the conversation settings in an #AskReuters series in dealing with topics such as COVID-19 vaccines and racial justice.

“Reuters leveraged conversation settings in a smart way to convene timely conversations with a diverse range of journalists from their newsroom and guests,” says Patel. “Reuters consistently takes an innovative approach to using new tools to help enhance their journalism. Driving informative conversations is a core part of their Twitter strategy.”

To make the most of Twitter conversation settings, Twitter offers the following 10 pro tips for journalists.

  1. To moderate conversations, hide replies.
  2. Mute irrelevant conversations.
  3. Secure accounts through two-factor authentication.
  4. Modify notification settings to reduce the number and type of notifications received.
  5. Embed existing videos when you want to share a video from a colleague or your newsroom.
  6. Use advanced search to find specific tweets from certain users, through the use of keywords and time ranges.
  7. See who’s sharing your article and what they are saying about it through search features.
  8. Create lists to categorize accounts in your timeline.
  9. See the latest tweets first by viewing your timeline in chronological order.
  10. Set alerts to see when a specific account tweets.

We aren’t sold on this idea yet. Playing devil’s advocate, it also means that Twitter users are free to say what they want – within Twitter’s guidelines – without having to deal with replies they don’t want to see or field. This seems like a new way to moderate, or ignore, users, topics and replies they don’t want to manage. This isn’t necessarily censorship, but it limits the interaction newsrooms and journalists have with their readers.

Are Axios and The Athletic Considering a Merger?

And media consolidation continues. Axios and The Athletic, both digital media startups, are exploring a merger, reports Forbes. According to a source familiar with the talks, The Athletic and Axios have signed non-disclosure agreements to keep the conversations private. However, they are reportedly looking at premium subscriptions as an area of potential growth.

Forbes reports that, if the two companies merge, they might consider a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) to take the combined company public. Also, it is believed that the two organizations would operate their editorial work independently but would collaborate on acquire websites and offering premium content to subscribers.

Axios launched in 2017 to provide “smarter, more efficient coverage” and to do so while putting their audience first. They even went so far as to create a 10-point Axios Bill of Rights to share their purpose and their values, including being responsible for their own content, refusing to sacrifice quality and being transparent about how they make money and serve their audiences. They also shared their editorial guiding beliefs and guiding principles (audience first, elegant efficiency, smart always, no BS for sale, excellence always).

“We believe high-quality journalism should not be an exclusive privilege. We will provide free access to the majority of our content,” said Axios in item #10 of their Bill of Rights.

The Athletic launched in January 2016 with similar principles, but a different model. The company launched as a subscription-only site with a hard paywall. But in exchange for subscription fees, readers get high-quality, exclusive sports coverage of all their favorite teams. According to a September 2020 story by CNBC, The Athletic publishes more than 200 stories a day by recruiting the very best, most respected sports writers around. At that time, they also produced 120 podcasts for subscribers who pay about $64 per year for a subscription.

Though Axios and The Athletic have different business models, there is an opportunity for partnership here because the companies have the same commitment to quality. A potential hiccup we see is how Axios keeps to its plan to provide free access to the majority of its content. It either needs to shift that thinking or produce brand new, premium content not accessible to others. This will be an interesting partnership if it comes to fruition.

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