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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - October 2019

Episode 13: Let's talk about unit economics

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Hello everyone, and welcome to episode 13 of the Baekdal Plus podcast (which you can also just read as a regular article). It's been a while since my last episode. It's been three months, and the last time I talked about robot journalism with Hannah. That was the most popular episode I have made. In case you haven't heard it, I interviewed a robot about the future of robot journalism, and people loved it so much that they started asking me when Hannah, the robot, would come back.

So, that was really fun, and yes, Hannah might return some day.

But today we are going to talk about something completely different. We are going to talk about the amazing world of unit economics and unit analytics. I know, unit economics sounds really boring to a lot of people, but it's an extremely important thing for publishers to embrace. Not just on the business side, where you are hopefully already using it, but much more so on the newsroom side.

We will talk about why this is so amazing, how others are doing it, and also talk about the many problems we have with it.

What is unit economics?

Let's start by defining what unit economics really is. Well, it's the metrics that you use to define the value of each individual thing that you do.

For journalism, this is usually about the articles that we write. Unit economics defines how much revenue a specific article made. Not on average, but the actual real revenue for that specific article.

Measuring this is not hard to do.

There are usually two types of revenue, advertising and subscriptions.

Subscription revenue is calculated as a share of the activity. Think about something like Spotify. The way they pay artists is to look at how many plays or time spent each individual song achieved. And then they use that metric to divide the total revenue for each song.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


—   podcast   —


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Episode 13: Let's talk about unit economics


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