Growing Reader Revenue Beyond Content Series – Events
4 July 2019
During our latest webinar, Growing Reader Revenue Beyond Content, we explored how leading publishing groups are implementing alternative measures to grow their revenue outside content. Within this blog series, we will break down in depth and provide examples on each of the subjects we discussed, starting with Utilising Events.
Publishers are realising that with declining print revenues they need a number of different revenue streams to counter this downfall. Events have been a popular choice for many publishers, with many holding various events relating to their areas of speciality.
The Atlantic has had great success since starting their events business 12 years ago, which has gradually grown to represent 20% of their total revenue. They now hold more than 200 events a year, including everything from a week-long business conference to invite-only dinners.  Another great example is Conde Nast International who has taken advantage of their niche audiences such as the highly lucrative wedding market which is growing at 25-30% YoY. 
Some publishers have taken events to a whole new level by opening entire spin-off event destination centres. Time Out, the global media and entertainment company started this trend by creating Time Out Market Place in Lisbon – a collection of eateries, live performance and all-round entertainment centre. This has now expanded to Miami, New York and most recently they opened a 25,000 square feet food hall in Boston featuring 15 eateries. They also have plans to open three more in Chicago, Montreal, London and Praha. 
This tactic implemented by Time Out is completely different from what any other publisher is doing. The success of this model is simply down to understanding their readers and utilising their own journalists’ knowledge to create a huge attraction and a new successful revenue stream for the publisher.
On a smaller scale, publishers are holding more intimate events to deepen the relationship with their ‘premium subscribers’. Brands such as The FT hold FT Engage events – alongside their larger FT Live series – Engage has the core purpose to build more direct relationships with subscribers, while also attracting new ones by offering exclusive access to FT journalists.  The Guardian is doing something similar by turning their strong podcast audiences into live paid-for ticketed event audiences.
Diversifying revenues by utilising events cannot be discussed without mentioning The New York Times’ hugely successful worldwide live events. The NYT holds over 100 in-person events around the world that feature reporters and editors in conversation with leaders covering a range of subjects. This attracts large audiences and therefore generates a great alternative revenue stream for the publisher. 
Events can be used to engage the younger generation too, within the most recent INMA Publishing Awards the big winners were all around youth engagement. The Independent in South Africa won with their national high school quiz and Gannet also took first place with their high school sports awards, a great way to get their brands in front of their potential future subscribers.
Events may seem like a grand undertaking however; they can be a great opportunity to not only introduce an alternative revenue stream but also used to further engage the relationship with your readers. Sometimes less can be more, even simply inviting a portion of readers to your office or group phone calls to discuss certain topics with your journalists can be an easy way to generate new revenue and connect with your subscribers giving them exactly what they want.