This note is for everyone who is a TPM Reader. But it’s particularly for our regular readers who are not members or who maybe were members but lapsed or unsubscribed. We have our annual sign up drive coming up later this month. It is an absolutely critical one. If you’re a regular reader and you value TPM we literally need you to sign up and become a member. I’m going to explain below why it’s so important both in negative and positive terms.
First, in negative terms. TPM currently has 30,621 members. We need to get that to 32,700 by the end of the calendar year. We’re hoping to bank a significant chunk of that number during this drive. That’s the level we need to make the operation sustainable.
But there’s also a positive dimension. If we can get to that number, we will have gotten to a threshold number of subscribers which will place the whole organization on a firm footing going into the future. As I’ve explained previously, we’ve been on a multi-year path, building a subscription based business and trying to do so faster than the bottom falls out of the digital advertising business: 32,000-33,000 total subscribers (Prime plus Ad Free and Inside) is what we’ve been building toward. We need to get to that threshold this calendar year and luckily we’re fairly close.
This doesn’t mean we don’t want to build our membership over time going forward. We do. We very much want to do more original reporting, add more staff. But this is the threshold that will give us a firm foundation for the existing size of the organization going forward. That is a big, big deal. And our ability to keep pace to getting there over recent years is what has separated us from all the other digital journalism – not to mention print – outlets which have been shedding employees, pivoting to video or just shuttering altogether over recent years.
As part of this drive we’ll be introducing some new features and functionality for the site – some of which are already live. We’re also going to expand the voices you’re hearing from. Not just me but the rest of our editors explaining what they’re doing to make TPM everything it can be and how our membership goals are critical to doing so.