The Week Kick-off: Spotify subscriptions going up, Amazon CEO stepping down

We kick off a new week in media with reports from across an exciting and diverse industry. New print and podcast launches are having positive effects on cover prices and subscription revenues, and we were also given a timely reminder last week of the cultural relevance of traditional magazines within the modern media landscape. All of which of course was accompanied by the news that the CEO of Amazon intends to relinquish his current CEO role in favour of the Chairmanship, so here we go…   

Time for the Black Renaissance

From kicking off, to kicking ass, as Time last week showed why magazines remain such an influential part of the cultural landscape. The publication revealed a special Black Renaissance issue cover, and includes first ever US Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, in conversation with Michelle Obama. Author and historian, Ibram X. Kendi, who worked in partnership on the issue, says that it celebrates the power of Black art and marks this moment as the Black Renaissance:

“We are living in the time of a new renaissance – what we are calling the Black Renaissance – the third great cultural revival of Black Americans, after the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s, after the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s.”

We’ve got the full story on this one here.

UK records 113 new magazine launches in 2020

Somewhat promisingly, new research shows that there were a total of 113 new print publications launched in the UK in 2020, despite the on-set of the global coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. The report, published by Wessenden Marketing, also showed that the average cover price of all new launches jumped by 11 per cenr year-on-year, to a record GBP £4.52 (US $6.20) per issue.

Of course, the sector is not immune to the difficulties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and it wasn’t all good news: the total number of new launches was down 60 per cent on the previous year.

Nonetheless, given the current market conditions, Managing Director of Wessenden Marketing, Jim Bilton, highlights the positives for the industry: “Whilst a 60 per cent drop in launch activity is massive, the market is still very much alive,” says Bilton. “Given the horrendous trading conditions, to see 113 new products come on to the newsstands shows that the magazine business is still very much alive.”

Podcasts help push 24 per cent Spotify subscription growth

From print content to audio, as Mark Sweney reports in the Guardian that Spotify experienced a 24 per cent increase in subscribers last year, attributed to the popularity of podcasts. The number of podcasts on Spotify has more than tripled in a year, and in the fourth quarter of 2020 the company recorded a doubling in podcast listening hours. The strategic shift towards non-music content is also reported to have helped the company to grow advertising revenue by 29 per cent year-on-year, to €281m ($ 338m). You can read the article in full here.

Bezos to step down

If moments in time mark the turning of pages in stories, then last week was for Jeff Bezos and Amazon surely a big one. On Tuesday 2 February, the CEO sent an email to employees announcing his intention to stand down from his current role and take on the new position of Executive Chairman instead:

“As Exec Chair I will stay engaged in important Amazon initiatives but also have the time and energy I need to focus on the Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post, and my other passions. I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have,” he said.

Day to day running of the company, which Bezos started up in his garage 27 years ago, will be passed across to Andy Jassy, current CEO of Amazon Web Services, in the second half of 2021.

And as for FIPP this week

For our part, we’ll be hosting not one, not two, but THREE training courses this week, all which are geared around sharpening your virtual skills during the Zoom era:

  • Planning and executing successful hybrid events: Covid-19 has changed the face of events for years to come. This course looks at true hybrid events, and adapting content and conversation between different platforms across the real and digital worlds.
  • Presenting with impact, the course to transform your online presentation skills, has been developed by Nua Training and will be led by an award-winning performer, pitch coach and TEDx speaker who certainly knows how to engage and hold an audience – both on and offline!
  • Remote Selling looks at first-class techniques to increase your virtual selling ability, including checklists and templates for how to run high impact online meetings, and best practices around preparation, tech, delivery, content and body language.

For more information on these three courses, as well as all upcoming FIPP training events, click here.


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