Sources of online media revenue. Part I

    Matthew Sollars has published the first portion of the list of sources of income that online media can use. The list is based on a review of existing media practices in the US and Europe. The emphasis is on innovative approaches, so the main source, banner advertising, is not included in the list. I publish this list specifically for those skeptics who actively waved and jerked in the comments under my notes and translations about business models for online media published earlier. Of course, in Russia the realities are different, however, someone else's experience may be useful.
    UPD The second part of the article “Sources of Internet Media Income” can be read here .

    So, the list.

    New ad options

    Suitable for: everyone.

    Coupons and offers of the day
    Although Twitter promises to change our ideas about the way coupons and offers are delivered, it’s still easier for advertisers to use the media to reach a large audience at once. For The Ann Arbor News, now offers of the day are the main source of income. MinnPost has recently launched a “real-time advertising” service . Others are trying to build a business using private ads of up to 140 characters. Here are good opportunities for geo-targeting and hyperlocal content.

    Sponsored Publications Paid Content
    Sitesstarted using new advertising slots right in the list of their publications. They look like ordinary posts, but the author is not specified in them, and they are written by the advertiser.


    Suitable for: everyone.

    Old proven format for a new type of media. As the cost of organizing video on a site has plummeted, advertisers are actively looking for opportunities to push their ads onto news sites. Many are already experimenting, including advertising before showing their content ( pre-roll ) and organizing all sorts of gadgets to display it during the show.


    Suitable for: media in large cities

    In the States, there are many guys who have managed to make money on branded goods such as mugs and T-shirts with a logo. But in general, e-commerce is not far from this. The exception is radio, which uses the Amazon affiliate program. And in the United Kingdom, Telegraf has developed a contextual online store. Of course, developing a store that analyzes the text of publications and offers relevant products was expensive. I had to tinker with the choice of suppliers. It is funny that canopies and panama hats became the most sought after Telegraf, nevertheless it is an important source of income for them.
    They also installed a system of deductions for transactions made from their website. The newspaper takes a percentage for sports bets and mortgages made in the "Sports" and "Personal Finance". This is common in the US on sites that sell tickets for sports and cultural events. Even The New York Times got carried away with it.

    Paid content

    Suitable for: media in large cities

    With the decline in advertising revenue, newspapers across the country are seriously considering issuing a paid subscription to online content. While restricting access to content limits your readability, publishers like Walter Hussman, the publisher of The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette , claim that online subscription helps prevent print subscription erosion (and keep advertising costs high) because they’re nothing Don't give away for free online.
    New business models combining subscription and micropayments are on the way. Large newspapers say that they are increasingly looking toward accountable readability, similar to the one used by the Financial Times. It allows the reader to view 10 publications for free, and then asks to pay.

    Lists and Databases

    Suitable for: media in major cities, business, and other industry publications

    Selling data has been a major source of revenue for newspapers and weekly magazines such as Crain , and this market is not going away. Part of the data can be published for free by integrating advertising into them. Full volumes can be sold once, for unlimited access to data, ask for an annual subscription.
    A separate collection of lists (top business by industry, legal services by region, the most actively growing neighborhoods, etc.), published once a year, will attract the attention of major advertisers and increase the popularity of your brand.
    This category also reveals great opportunities for mobile applications. Almost everything that you sell in lists and databases can be combined with geo-targeting. It will be a great app.

    Mobile technology

    Suitable for: everyone. The

    opportunity for making money is obvious: take a fee for a mobile application that delivers the latest news, or take a fee for delivering news via SMS. Apple's experience shows that people pay for mobile apps. According to Mark Potts, even hyperlocal media should do this because it is inexpensive. In addition, the application can embed advertising.
    Very interesting ideas appear every day in the field of geo-targeted advertising on mobile devices. Consider combining geolocation and your databases.

    Premium products

    Suitable for: media in major cities

    Along with its online store, the British Telegraph received significant income from the sale of a subscription to its website of CluedUp puzzles and fantastic sports games. Fantastic sports may already be forgotten in the USA, but games and puzzles remain a premium segment that can attract a significant number of subscribers. With the hypothetical market of a large city of 5 million inhabitants, if you attract the attention of a conservative million, convince at least 2% of them to get an annual subscription, and you will get a large stable source of income.

    Niche Websites

    Suitable for: media in large cities

    Media in large cities should abandon branded publications aimed at specific communities of interest. It is necessary to do not one-time or serial publications, but separate sites. Maybe a school sports site will work somewhere, but in most cases a site with a wider coverage of education in general, such as New York's Gotham Schools, will be profitable . Obviously, in the new decentralized news ecosystem, these niche sites can be completely independent. Interesting fact: The Voice of San Diego is now thinking about how to make a niche site around cemetery themes.


    Suitable for: non-profit media, journalistic investigations, niche publications, political (including opposition)

    donations - an excellent source of income for non-profit media, because donors can then use them to reduce their taxes. But commercial media do not disdain to extend a collection mug. David Boraks, publisher of , has been very successful at collecting what he calls "voluntary subscription fees."
    Spot.Us went further. They allowed readers to pay a little for the articles they like.

    Printed Version

    Suitable for: media of large cities, hyperlocal media, commercial media, non-commercial media.

    Printed once a week or month versions of publications can help make money. Many advertisers, especially at the local level, prefer to see their ads in print. Hyperlocal media can follow the example of the German publication MyHeimat, which uses the reverse model - prints a free weekly. A printed product, even one that is published once a year on the occasion of an event, helps to increase fame, which will lead to higher advertising prices. A regular release of print versions can help you start making money by spreading other people's tabs, which remains very profitable.

    The media of large cities can produce thematic issues (rather, monthly) in order to secure sales. Hyperlocal should look at the weekly, as recommended by Lisa Williams (Lisa Willams) from The best solution, she said, for a hyperlocal blogger would be to publish a weekly review of stores. For a relatively low cost - about 2 times cheaper than most local publishers - a blogger can cover his territory and expand the base of advertisers. Resources like will help reduce printing costs, which will increase margins. However, you have to work hard. Williams says: “The main problem is that you do everything personally. You yourself come up with the design, layout. And this is a lot of work, there are many little things. ”

    Special Reporting

    Suitable for: non-profit media, journalistic investigations

    The Voice of San Diego has told us that it intends to conduct investigations of private requests on a commercial basis. Although not a single one has been done so far, they hope this will help diversify their revenue base. Something similar could work for other non-profit investigative media.

    The second part of the article “Sources of Internet Media Income” can be read here .

    To anyone interested, look at these publications and translations:

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