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Oct. 13, 2021, 2:57 p.m.
LINK: www.axios.com  ➚   |   Posted by: Sarah Scire   |   October 13, 2021

Axios has launched a membership program for some of its local newsletters. The suggested contributions, listed on new city-specific sites, range from $50 to $500 per year.

Those who join will get “quarterly exclusive newsletters” and Axios “may host members-only events and give birthday shout-outs” in the future. Axios Local general manager Ted Williams said newsletters would continue to add perks to each city’s membership program.

“But these benefits are not why you should join,” according to the membership page. “You should join because you want to support the work.”

The membership option can be found on newsletters for Charlotte, Des Moines, Twin Cities, Tampa Bay, and Denver. Axios has expanded to eight more cities – Austin; Dallas; Atlanta; Chicago; Philadelphia; Nashville; Washington, D.C.; and Columbus, Ohio — since we last spoke to Williams, and the newly-added cities (as well as the NW Arkansas edition) are not marketing memberships right now.

Axios Local has nearly 400,000 total daily newsletter subscribers across all 14 cities and the emails have an open rate around 35%, Williams confirmed. The team expects to expand to 11 more cities in the first half of 2022 – though they haven’t finalized which cities quite yet.

Axios, known for its bullet points and brevity, launched its local ambitions by acquiring Charlotte Agenda back in December 2020. The profitable newsletter — which was free under Charlotte Agenda, and remains free as Axios Charlotte — had 1,700 paying supporters at the time of acquisition. Williams said Axios Charlotte now has “nearly 2,000 current members,” and will generate more than $100,000 in membership revenue this year.

The plan is to reinvest the membership revenue into each newsroom to hire reporters. (The newsletters have typically launched with two reporters; the Charlotte edition now has seven reporters and editors – not including visual staff and other editors shared across multiple cities.)

Axios CEO Jim VandeHei said, “If we can do in other cities what [Williams] did in Charlotte, we will grow a huge, profitable division and help revitalize local coverage.” Building up membership revenue — alongside advertising and local job boards — is part of that plan.

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