Jason Calacanis, the founder of Mahalo and Weblogs Inc., has a new idea for saving journalism, but it’s actually an old idea: Email.
Over the past four years, Calacanis’s latest company Inside has built out a roster of email newsletters, and they’re doing well enough that the company plans to launch one a week this year, for a total of between 60 and 70 newsletters by the end of 2017. On the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Calacanis explained this ambitious strategy: Email works where other platforms don’t.
“I learned a real profound lesson with the Inside news app,” Calacanis said. “You can get 500,000 people to download an app, but only 1 percent or less will use it a day. And then I realized, I took the same information that was in the app, I emailed it to the same audience and 40, 50, 60 percent opened it every day.”
And it’s not just apps that are the problem — the sacrifices necessary to reach the most eyeballs on search and social media have “perverted” the content business, Calacanis said.
“Everyone was beholden to Google for SEO and then the Huffington Post and everybody became beholden to social networks,” he said. “It’s really perverted the nature of the news business. I think email cuts out all these middlemen.”
“It creates a profound difference in how journalists do their jobs,” he added. “If you hit ‘Send’ and you are just in a panic about people hitting ‘Unsubscribe,’ you focus on quality. If you are trying to game social media, you’re like, ‘What’s the most salacious headline that I can trick somebody into clicking?’”
If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:
- Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
- Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge's Lauren Goode, answers all of the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
- And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.