Age, Herald take advantage of Succession success with multi-platform content, reach

By Sophia Phan

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


In group chats and office kitchens, people are talking about one thing: What happened on the latest episode of Succession? Who’s got the power? Who blew it?

We’ve committed ourselves to being in the middle of those conversations.

Separately, we know readers like being served a breadth of content and that it’s important for publications to show a mix of content to satisfy different audience needs. Prior to the latest season of Succession, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age recapped every episode of The White Lotus with great success; these articles were read by both new and existing readers.

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have gone all in with Succession coverage and have found great success.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age have gone all in with Succession coverage and have found great success.

To add to the TV coverage this time around, the culture team decided to do a special recap of episodes on our weekly culture podcast, The Drop. We also decided to publish weekly articles to meet audiences on myriad platforms. This 360-degree approach allows us to create and distribute content suiting different audience behaviours — whether they want to consume it on the Web site, in a podcast, on social media, or on YouTube.

We are learning and refining the strategy each week, but have already seen a number of successes.

The Herald’s and The Age’s newsletter The Watchlist had its highest open rate in the past month. It had a 65% open rate (almost double the industry average) on the electronic direct mail (EDM) focused on the arrival of the new season of Succession.

The addition of these Succession recap episodes has resulted in the podcast doubling in listenership when compared to episodes at the start of the year.

We have also started filming the recording of The Drop, allowing us to further promote the podcast and its Succession content to audiences who listen to podcasts on YouTube or clip a viral moment for TikTok or Instagram.

As part of the Succession coverage, the culture team also had access to a number of the show’s stars, including a sit-down interview with Nicholas Braun. It resulted in a 1,000-word feature and podcast segment, as well as a YouTube video, which has garnered almost 10,000 views and more than 450,000 views across social platforms.

To make the online articles more dynamic, we’ve taken elements from the podcast, including character power rankings and quotes of the week, to include as embeds throughout.

The embedded content has encouraged further engagement with readers.
The embedded content has encouraged further engagement with readers.

Our reporters/podcast hosts have started replying to comments left on the article also, fostering a community of culture consumers and creating dialogue between our subscribers and journalists.

The other week we hosted an Instagram Live with the three hosts — a sort of mini-episode — taking advantage of the reach of the masthead Instagram account and relying on the different audience there to promote the podcast and its content.

We approached coverage with great breadth and energy, which exposed our smart culture coverage to a broader audience.

About Sophia Phan

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