Recurring revenues remain the holy grail for many media businesses. But which are the best ones to pursue and how do you incorporate them into your strategy?

One person who will be sharing his opinions on new approaches to monetisation at FIPP Congress 2023 is Kerin O’Connor, Founder and CEO of Atlas.

Kerin cut his teeth at Dennis Publishing, one of the pioneers of online subscriptions in the UK. Since then, through Atlas, Kerin has been working with clients as diverse as The Guardian and Hello! advising them on implementing successful subscription systems.

In this interview Kerin talks about:

  • How the media brand The Week has shaped his career and his approach to subscriptions
  • The continuing importance of special interest media brands
  • How there are now many new revenue opportunities for publishers

At FIPP World Media Congress in Cascais, Portugal, on 6-8 June, Kerin will present Unleash the Power of Your Brand: Subscriptions that Stands the Test of Time

For specially discounted tickets click here.

Here he responds to our rapid-round questions.

Who are you? And what is your role in the media/publishing? 

I’m the founder of Atlas, which is a strategic growth consultancy for the media. We specialise in recurring revenues. I formed the company to deliver clarity and confidence to the world of subscriptions in 2022 after leaving The Week. Our clients include The Guardian, Hello! and Intelligence Squared. We provide all sorts of analytics and strategic thinking to help customer models improve.

What have been the highlights of your career in media/publishing so far?  I cut my teeth working at Dennis Publishing, where I was CEO of The Week, MoneyWeek and The Week Junior. At the time of the Dennis sale, we had around 725,000 subscribers in the UK and US across The Week’s range of brands. I’ve been in publishing since 1996, and the industry continues to throw out new interesting challenges.

The Week is the only British news weekly to successfully launch since 1914, and its format and editorial made it Britain’s fastest-growing news magazine for many years with more than 15 consecutive circulation rises. We launched in the US in 2001, where it repeated the UK trick and grew to a circulation of over 500,000

I like launches and The Week Junior was a particularly fantastic launch, as it became the UK’s best selling children’s magazine; getting close to 100,000 weekly sales. Junior performed the same trick in the US after its launch in 2020, raising over 100,000 sales.

Felix Dennis was a brilliant boss to have, and I enjoyed working on Maxim for him. I ran the International network, where we had 38 editions and ended up as the best-selling men’s lifestyle magazine in the world before a successful sale in 2007 to a US buyer.

My specialism has always been subscriptions, and in recent years a shift to digital acquisition techniques has underpinned a lot of my work. Digital tools make finding and keeping your readers so much more enjoyable than the old methods.

What do you see as the key trends in the media?

  • Magazines are returning to their special interest roots. You can see this in the intensity and focus of editorial campaigns, in the newsletter renaissance and reader representation in their magazine communities. Brands are becoming closer to their readers and creating more intimate connections.
  • There’s plenty of growing, innovative ways to make money from audiences and there’s a big shift to different kinds of monetisation. Today’s smart publishers have a wide panorama of techniques to find income. Future leads the way on this in the UK.
  • Knowing your reader counts for more than ever. Whether it’s subscriptions, podcasts, newsletter sign-ups and all sorts of other media, the importance of first party data is paramount. 

Put these three together in your business, and you can thrive.

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About Congress

The FIPP World Media Congress is a must-attend event for anyone in leadership positions in the media. Delegates can hear from an incredible range of media thought leaders and influencers while networking with their peers in the resort’s stunning venues and hotels.

For specially discounted tickets click here.