The draw of taking part in something bigger

“We all know audio is seeing a resurgence in news media, with publishers experimenting with podcasts and daily briefings on smart speakers. The New York Times is taking it even further, with their “participatory podcasts“, aka conference calls. […]

These calls have been successful in drawing in usually several hundred subscribers, with a broad mix of demographics — including international subscribers. The Times could easily just release these conversations as podcasts but that would miss out on the community-building aspect. […]

By being live, and taking listener questions, these calls foster a sense among subscribers that they are part of something bigger than themselves. This is one of the reasons more and more media organisations have been trialing membership programs; it helps to increase retention as well.”

Unexpected ways publishers engage readers (Twipe)