As we approach the end of each year, I always find myself reflecting on the state of the industry, and on the work we at The Logic have been doing to make sure we’re an indispensable part of your media diet. I’ll try to avoid cliches, but I can’t promise there won’t be a few.
We are in a period of immense uncertainty and change, particularly for traditional news outlets. Our colleagues in the newspaper business face a challenging few quarters. With the price of newsprint up dramatically, increasing home delivery prices alongside inflation is causing consumers to rethink subscriptions. Publishers that have relied on digital-display advertising are also affected by an industry-wide slowdown in programmatic advertising, as reflected in the most recent Big Tech earnings reports.
The drop in tech companies’ ad revenue reflects a fundamental shift in user behaviour. The fourth wall has been broken.
People are recognizing that:
- Twitter is less a town square than a gladiator arena, overseen by a private company trying to sell advertisements and $8 checkmarks against a discourse that’s increasingly angry and hateful;
- Facebook is no longer the place to share birthday wishes and news articles but now best serves as a marketplace for selling your couch to your neighbors;
- Alphabet is facing a decline in the volume and quality of the third-party cookie data vital to its programmatic advertising business. Once able to organize the world’s information through the web, it is also facing the threat of artificial intelligence able to answer questions and convey information better than a Google search.
A pessimist would argue this is all bad for letting readers discover new journalism. I would argue that as users grapple with these challenges, there’ll be a renewed interest in human-powered reporting, journalistic standards and practices and a flight to quality from readers seeking trustworthy journalism, well-edited and curated. I also believe there will be an increase in “ethical advertising” as brands look to get out of the social media mud.
While we face the same headwinds as others in the industry, after almost five years of hard work—and from the continued support of readers like you—we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of these shifts. We uphold the highest standards of journalistic integrity, we don’t face the same growing costs as outlets that publish analog media and we have a business team that doesn’t compromise editorial integrity in the pursuit of commercial relationships. This strength of character, discipline and resilience positions us well to take advantage of advertisers’ flight to quality.
Three years ago, I wrote in a memo to our team that we should always bear in mind the former Wall Street Journal editor Barney Kilgore adage that readers want to know what’s coming around the corner. If The Logic is able to provide “certainty in a time of uncertainty,” we will be successful.
Looking back at 2022, we accomplished a great deal. Some highlights:
- We increased our headcount by 30 per cent, doubling the size of the business team to capture additional revenue and adding much needed editing expertise in the newsroom. As of Jan. 1, 2023 we will be a 23-person operation.
- We grew despite the wider economic slowdown, with revenues after the third quarter exceeding our 2021 year-end totals.
- We proved a subscription business can also be a good advertising business, with sponsorship now contributing more than a third of total revenue.
- We were nominated for more SABEW Canada Best in Business Awards than any publication save The Globe and Mail, winning three golds and a silver, including best newsletter for the fourth year in a row.
- We launched a new editorial product, Shift, helping bring The Logic to new audiences.
- We refreshed our website with new article pages, bringing more creativity to our presentation and improving our reader experience.
- We held our first in-person subscriber event outside Toronto.
- We held our first-ever team retreat in Niagara, which for many of us, meant meeting in person for the first time.
There are many more achievements I could recognize, but I can confidently say we are a more professionally run operation than ever, we’ve built a strong foundation as a business and, day-in and day-out, the work we’re publishing is better than it’s ever been.
The ultimate question for any news outlet is, “Would readers miss it if it no longer existed?” I can say with certainty that yes, The Logic has become an indispensable part of the fabric of this country, and grows more vital every year.
Thank you for continuing to support this company’s mission, for reading and sharing our journalism, and for helping make The Logic what it is. We’re looking forward to serving you in 2023.