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The Business of Content

May 14, 2020

Ben Cohen isn’t the world’s biggest fan of Facebook. The founder of a political news website called The Daily Banter, Ben worked hard to build up his reach on Facebook, and for a few years he made a decent living selling advertising against his content.

But after the 2016 election, Facebook pivoted away from news, and virtually overnight The Daily Banter lost 90% of its traffic. Not only could he no longer pay his own salary, but he was also struggling to keep his stable of writers on board.

Out of desperation, he moved the Banter over to Substack and doubled down on paid subscriptions. That was in early 2019. I recently checked in with Ben to see how his efforts are going and how a presidential election year affects subscription growth for a political newsletter.