Broadcast Journalism, Now Streaming on X 🎤

Mehdi Hasan launches his own news company

Good morning. T-Series, the world’s most popular YouTube channel by subscribers (263 million), uploaded a new video on Monday that encouraged viewers to subscribe. Why? Because MrBeast is closing in on T-Series’ top spot, now trailing by only 11 million. The race is on.

Journalist Mehdi Hasan Starts News Company

At Zeteo’s launch event on Monday, Mehdi Hasan (right) hosts conversations with guests including U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (left) / Photography by Brendan Kownacki

Journalist Mehdi Hasan formally launched his new media venture, Zeteo, this week. Zeteo covers global news through a slate of shows on YouTube and X, a newsletter, its roster of 12 contributors, and (starting next week) a comedy and political podcast called We’re Not Kidding.

How he got here: Hasan spent the last two decades as a broadcast journalist and columnist for organizations like the BBC, MSNBC, and The Intercept. 

The strategy: Unlike other journalists who have struck out on their own to start a namesake newsletter or YouTube channel, Hasan is building a network of diverse voices across media. He likens it to the progressive equivalent of the Free Press or Daily Wire.

“I want to build something that’s bigger than myself, something that can last longer than me,” Hasan told us. 

How he’s doing it: Hasan is running a team of seven (a mix of full- and part-time employees) and building a studio in Washington, D.C. 

“We are trying to do this in a very professional way. Don’t cut corners or self-marginalize in production terms—that’s what I’ve picked up on over the years,” Hasan said.

Zeteo’s business plan: Most of Zeteo’s revenue currently comes from premium newsletter subscriptions (Zeteo’s content is free, but paying subscribers gain access to comments and exclusive events). Hasan also raised $4 million from friends, family, and viewers. 

“People are craving alternatives to what they’re getting from cable news, print press, and cable media outlets,” Hasan said. “Zeteo is all about avoiding lazy euphemisms and being able to be blunt about the threats we face on multiple fronts—globally, nationally, and culturally.”

The bet has paid off. Two of Zeteo’s videos have already surpassed 1 million views in less than 24 hours. Of Zeteo’s 160,000 newsletter subscribers, 20,000 upgraded to paid within two months of soft launch—the fastest a creator has ever reached that milestone on Substack.

“January was, to quote Donald Trump, ‘a bloodbath for our industry.’ So many good journalists lost jobs and people said to me ‘you’re crazy for starting this enterprise,’” Hasan said. “But we’re doing it differently with a different business model and so far—touch wood—it’s working.”

Streamers Boost Sales of Parody Game to 1M Copies

In “Content Warning,” players work together to venture into haunted and cursed zones in hopes of filming a viral video / Landfall Publishing

Through their playthrough uploads with fellow streamers, gaming creators including Nicholas “Jynxzi” Stewart and Jason “videogamedunkey” Gastrow have helped co-op horror video game Content Warning go viral (and sell over 1 million copies) since it launched on April 1.

The game’s twist? Players compete by filming monsters and seeing who can drive the most hypothetical views on an in-game video-sharing platform called “SpöökTube.” The meta concept quickly made it a favorite among streamers and their fans.

Context: More than 6 million players downloaded Content Warning in the first 24 hours after it was released, when it was free for a limited time.

Big picture: Over the last several months, indie video game developers like Content Warning publisher Landfall have found success by a) producing games with small teams and b) setting gaming creators up for viral moments on YouTube, Twitch, and even TikTok Live.

One game developer, Konrad Pawlikowski, told NBC News that TikTok is increasing discovery for indie games, much as it has for indie music.

Sponsored by WebWave

A Faster Way to a Beautiful New Site

So you want to build a beautiful website ASAP, but you’re tight on time and budget. We feel you.

If you can’t afford to splurge on design and development, try WebWave. It’s an AI-powered web builder that can create your entire website in minutes.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Describe your project

  2. Pick the style you like

  3. Hit generate

With WebWave, there are no stiff layouts or restrictions to what you can make. Create your website any way you want.

Start building with WebWave and get 50% off any plan, plus a free dot-com domain for one year. Sign up today.

59% of Consumers Find Creators as Entertaining as Traditional Media

A report by Accenture says that consumers find creators’ content comparable to traditional television / Illustration by Moy Zhong

Consulting firm Accenture just released a new report that analyzed how creators are catching up to traditional media companies among consumers.

The report’s findings, by the numbers…

  • 59% found user-generated content as entertaining as traditional media.

  • 58% trust independent creators as much as they do established news outlets.

  • 26% decreased time spent watching linear TV, while 52% increased time on social video (i.e. YouTube, TikTok) in 2023.

Go deeper: Accenture’s John Peters discussed the report further on a recent episode of The Town.

🔥 Press Worthy

📚️ Thank You For Pressing Publish

The content we’re looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this weekend.

  • Read: “The industry is in a deep and existential crisis.” Harper’s Magazine investigates the current state of Hollywood, as film and television writers’ median wages plummeted by 23% over the last decade.

  • Watch: Caitlin Clark, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s WNBA Draft, appeared on Saturday Night Live to discuss the growth of women’s basketball—and roast “Weekend Update” host Michael Che. 

  • Listen: For all those heartbroken (or maybe if you just want to pretend that you are)—Taylor Swift's Tortured Poets Department is here, and it's making us feel something.

🎁 Share the Press

When you refer new readers to the Press, you earn merch from the Press Publish shop.

*Here’s your unique link to share:

You currently have 0 referrals. You're only 5 away from receiving Stickers.

*Please do not use fake email addresses — they will not qualify as referrals. Thank you!