–Britt Santowski, Proprietor and Publisher, Sooke PocketNews
Sooke PocketNews, first launched in January 2015, was started because there was an identified gap in daily online community news coverage. And based on readership activity (over 1.8 million article reads in the past year, and over five million reads since inception four years ago), our services are valued by the community.
For these four years, though, SPN has continually hovered on the brink of “to be or not to be.” Not by choice. We’ve tried tooth and claw to sustain our existence through advertising, with efforts including cold calling, hiring, and fundraising. It’s been a long and painful haul. Competing for advertising against the mega-corp giants like Google and Facebook has contributed to our precarious position.
With an eye to keeping the service going, SPN is moving to a subscription model ($0.33 a day) starting in January 2019. Those signing up in December, will get a year-long discount ($0.27 a day).
Our current model, being advertiser-funded, positions the advertiser as the most important stakeholder. Consider this: if we lose two long-term advertisers, we fold. That’s a lot of power held by the advertiser. By moving to subscriptions, you-the-reader becomes the most important person our relationship.
With your subscription, you get:
- Full access to SPN articles (political cover, events, photo galleries, human interest articles, etc)
- A daily newsletter delivered to your inbox (this option will become available only to subscribers starting in January).
- The ability to promote your causes and fundraisers (these promotions will be limited to members in good standing).
- Submit articles and letters directly online.
- Decide if your letters are limited to subscribers or opened up to a broader base.
All for $0.27 a day. That’s even cheaper than a tepid gas station coffee in a Styrofoam cup. It’s less than a stamp. (Full disclosure: If you sign up in December, you become a “Charter Subscriber” and after one full year, that trial cost converts to $0.33 a day. In January, the trial period drops from one year to three months. In February, we’re dropping the trial period altogether.)
In addition to that exclusive access, you will also enjoy the continuation of the following (which will remain free to all):
- Live traffic updates (articles and subsequent updates will be only available to subscribers)
- Weather updates (alerts will only be available to subscribers)
- Earthquake information(detailed event breakdown will only be available to subscribers)
- Jobs listed on the jobs page (though full posting will only be available to subscribers)
Presence on Social media continues
We will continue to cross-post headlines on social media, although we encourage readers to rely less on this source. Did you know? Typically, only 5 – 15% of any business “pages” posts on Facebook get seen by any one individual. If you want to decide for yourself which headlines you receive, we strongly recommend this newsletter service, which will be included with your subscription.
Sooke PocketNews wants to stay.
Currently, SPN advertisers can make or break this service’s very existence. At the same time, our thousands of readers—who have accessed news on SPN at least 1.8 million times this year—have no say. That imbalance is what we are fixing.
For just pennies a day, the coverage and insightful community reporting that SPN is for known continues. And, if we retain more than a quarter of our current readership, our quality news services and excellent community coverage expands.
Were you one of the 12,568 people who read our article on Fentanyl death laced with regret: When you don’t get to say I love you? Or one of the 34,327 people who read about Landen’s mother plea to the BC Premier, asking for funding for an out-of reach medication not covered by Pharmacare?
With advertisers as our primary funders, generating daily traffic is the singularly most important thing. When you-the-reader are the primary funders (as is the case in a subscription-based service), content becomes more important.
Thanks for being an SPN reader, and we hope to see you as a subscribing member in the near future.