“I’m agnostic but I just came here to tell you God bless you...for this...”
These are the kind of comments that keep the Stears Business Editor-in-Chief going past 11pm each Thursday, running over the newsletter, perfecting each word.
It is another Thursday evening and it is time to go again. This time, better than the last.
Perhaps this is what you get when you quit your job as an economist at the UK Government’s Department of International Trade, buy a one-way ticket to Nigeria in late November, and begin building a newsroom full of analysts who now need to be sold on becoming ‘financial journalists’.
Why sign up for this at all?
Perhaps we work extremely hard on each story because our readers expect nothing less. Maybe we are driven by the desire to fix a media industry that we consider broken. Or, maybe this is just what we do at Stears. This is who we are.
We produce quality information.
Ever since we launched our first Stears Business story titled ‘Between Inflation and a Hard Place’ in 2017, we have been driven by a simple promise: to provide original, analytical, well-written stories that make sense of the Nigerian economy.
In delivering this editorial promise, we have accepted two facts that are counterintuitive to most media businesses. The first is that we are in the business of information, not news; the second is that we build our primary relationships with our readers, before any advertisers.
These two facts have enabled us to design a newsroom that creates the kind of data-driven insight that has fast become a learning tool for readers.
We do not know if this ambition is shared by our counterparts. And we understand that it may not work for all publishers. Naïve as it may seem, we like to think that our merry band of analysts and data geeks can continue to do things very differently—that we can continue to create real value.
More importantly, we like to think our readers believe so too.
So, Stears Business believes, very strongly, that the right model for its publication is reader-centric. This means readers paying for valuable information created exclusively for them. After all, the ultimate proof of value is a customer who is willing to pay.
Where we are going, and why
On the 28th of July, 2020, Stears Business will put its money where its mouth is by launching Stears Premium: a paid digital subscription for readers who value information and want information worth paying for.
For readers who are wondering, this is not a COVID-19 induced pivot. It is the result of a deliberate and rigorous year-long strategy.
Because of the importance of this decision, and our belief that readers deserve transparency, we are sharing why we made this choice:
#1 Reason: A desire to make our readers more informed
Ever so often, I remind the editorial team that our job is not just to publish. Rather, it is to set the standard against which all other platforms—general or niche, print or digital—publish.
For years, Nigerians have settled for publishers built to influence or distract, rather than inform. In turn, too many publishers are content with maintaining the status quo by reeling out low-quality content to drive clicks.
But, we have seen that our readers are different. You demand more. You do not just want to read the news, you want to understand it. You do not just want opinions, you want data.
Every click, share and comment reminds us of the same thing: we have found a community of readers who truly want to understand how the economy around them works.
You remind us when you tweet at us:
When you are not tweeting, you email:
And when you are not emailing, you humble us by reminding us how much value you get from our content:
So, if you want to be part of a community solely focused on making you smarter, better informed, and knowledgeable, then Stears Premium is for you.
This is our first promise to you as a subscriber.
#2 Reason: A desire to make our publication subscriber-focused
The foundation of any subscription product is value. Without value, all else will fail. So, we are obsessed with the question: how do we build value for you?
We use three, interconnected approaches:
First, we are stubbornly and exclusively, subscriber obsessed. As a member of the Stears community, the content is made for you and because of you. Our subscribers are not an afterthought or an additional revenue stream; you are the publication. We will build the content around you, understand what you want to understand, and explain what you want us to explain. And of course, we will always bring the data. We will build the Stears Business that makes you the most informed, thoughtful version of yourself.
Second, we work extremely hard to ensure that our content is differentiated on quality, not quantity. Whether we are analysing Dangote’s oil refinery, how the funding model that changed Manchester United works in Nigeria, the tough job of a central bank governor, the mechanics behind e-commerce business models or giving you a guide to the exchange rate crisis, our content will always be unique—and unavailable anywhere else.
How do we do this? We bring together analysts, journalists, data scientists, engineers, economists and even lawyers (yours truly) and teach them to use data to make each story better than the last.
Third, we do not publish unoriginal, syndicated, sponsored or paid content. Everything on Stears Business is original and exclusive to you. Our stories will never be decided by any advertiser or company. We do not pay to play.
In the end, everything we do will put our readers first. This is our second promise to you as a subscriber.
Here is what will happen in the week of the 28th of July:
Stears will introduce two kinds of paid subscription plans:
- Personal subscriptions
- Team subscriptions
Anyone who wants to access our Stears Premium content will have to sign up to a paid subscription plan on stearsng.com.
All Stears Premium content is created by our in-house analysts, and focuses on specific industries, issues, themes and companies. They are the newsletters and articles you love.
Readers will immediately be able to create an account with only an email address and subscribe to one of three options:
- Monthly plan — ₦4,000
- Quarterly plan — ₦10,000
- Annual Plan — ₦35,000
- Monthly plan — $10
- Quarterly plan — $27
- Annual Plan — $99
Each weekday morning, subscribers will receive an 8am email from our editors introducing that day’s Stears Premium story, and why it is important for you.
Our Stears Premium subscribers may reply to our editors; they will respond in kind.
For now, we will keep some of our old content freely available to everyone on stearsng.com.
As we explore new products, sectors, trends, companies and business models, our editors will always listen to what you have to say. And we will continue to build with you in mind.
Companies, organisations and schools that want firmwide access to our content will also be able to pay for subscriptions. Team subscriptions are for teams with at least 4 members. Each member of the team will receive complete access to Stears Business.
A unique feature of team subscriptions is access to Stears Data economic and market reports which currently retail at ₦250,000 (Annual subscription) and up to ₦150,000 for a specific industry report. Teams will receive these reports for free.
For team subscribers, Stears Data, our research & data analytics division, remains available to handle your specific data collection, analytics and research needs. Our economic and demographic databases grow by the day, and we are excited to use our data solutions to serve you.
To access a team subscription, please immediately fill in this short form and our sales team will get in touch to offer you discounted bundles.
Special thank you from the Stears PAQ.
We are grateful to everyone who has been with us on this journey. Our Writer’s Network, who made it possible for us to find our first readers. Our investors, who gave us the resources and room to experiment. Our team members, who work extremely hard each day to hit new heights. But, most importantly, our readers. Our subscribers. You. For trusting us to build a publication dedicated to producing high-quality information.
We will not let you down.
Follow me on Twitter @TimeyinPI.