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Will The Athletic Go The Distance?

By The Boy -

Awash with serious investment, The Athletic certainly created something that hadn’t existed before. Like a digital oligarch buying up Galacticos, Hold The Front Page back in 2019 told readers that writers were being offered ‘double your money deals’ to join the American behemoth’s advertisement-free wonderland. It was believed that a 55-strong UK team was assembled, which might run at an operating cost of about £4m.

In the beginning, Tottenham articles ran with alluring titbits prefaced with The Athletic understands within always lengthy pieces, which provided insights that one frequently didn’t see anywhere else. At this stage, the full subscription was just under a tenner a month.

Since then, the subscription model has bounced around quite unpredictably and how much readers have to pay depends upon which promotional link one clicks through on. The pricing I saw myself online featured offers at £1, £4, and £7.

In recent months the quantity of Tottenham pieces has ploughed on at the same pace, but the quality has had a feel about it as if quotas needed to be met, so I wondered who the demographic was because, minus the titbits, it wasn’t me. That was a tough question to answer, but I could discern a good few American ‘voice’s in the comments section.

Getting a flavour of the traffic of a site standing outside it can be tough, but there are tools available that provide clues. If The Athletic‘s UK market share is just 6.41%, then this raises a few concerns. This isn’t just for the Spurs pieces, this is for everything. 6.41% of 18.91million is about 121,2131. If they all paid £7 then that’s £8,484917 which shows a very nice return on the UK operation. I can’t stress enough that this is all guesswork – because I’m paying a pound, and I am not alone.

The only problem is, are the articles currently being churned out worth anything at all when one can use so many other football outlets for free?

Are three thousand words going to tell one much more than 200 ones, on a routine basis?

And here’s the kicker. The bounce rate is nice and low at 66%, but that’s not so low that the average visitor duration is just 2minutes – which isn’t long enough to read most The Athletic articles.

To provide context, the poor souls visiting here averaged 1minute 43seconds over the last 6 days.

This is all back of cigarette packet maths, but how long will people keep paying for content that a great many of them aren’t even reading in full? A cynic would answer that if you were making a few million a month, who right now, then who cares?

Maybe an investor would take a different view. And investors don’t just want their money back. If The Athletic wants longevity, then more of its content needs to be read.

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Spurs EST.1882
Spurs EST.1882
3 years ago

This is a preface as athletic have run and about to run a few articles that go against HH’s stance.

Urbane Sturgeon
Urbane Sturgeon
3 years ago

Hmmm wot a fairly random post, Aitch. Wonder what % of the past 6 day short visits are people popping back to see if there’s a response to something they wrote earlier? In that case wouldn’t that mean a 1 minute 43 second visit would count as a positive not negative stat?

Go on the BlockMyBrainUpWithIssuesI’mUltimatelyIndifferentAbout!

Last edited 3 years ago by Urbane Sturgeon
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