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Crowdfunding the Future

Media Industries, Ethics, and Digital Society


Edited By Lucy Bennett, Bertha Chin and Bethan Jones

The concept of crowdfunding, where grassroots creative projects are funded by the masses through websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, has been steadily gaining attention over the last few years. Crowdfunding the Future undertakes a dynamic interdisciplinary approach to the examination of the new, and growing, phenomenon of crowdfunding and its encompassment of digital society and media industries. The book offers a wide range of perspectives and empirical research, providing analyses of crowdfunded projects, the interaction between producers and audiences, and the role that websites such as Kickstarter play in discussions around fan agency and exploitation, as well as the ethics of crowdfunding. With a series of chapters covering a global range of disciplines and topics, this volume offers a comprehensive overview on crowdfunding, examining and unraveling the international debates around this increasingly popular practice. The book is suitable for courses covering media studies, fandom, digital media, sociology, film production, anthropology, audience, and cultural studies.
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11. The Role of Crowdfunding as a Business Model in Journalism: A Five-layered Model of Value Creation


11. The Role of Crowdfunding as a Business Model in Journalism: A Five-layered Model of Value Creation


The Rise of Crowdfunding in Journalism

The traditional business models in journalism are in transformation; as subscription revenues are falling in print, online revenues from paywalls can’t match the deficit, and online advertising is not as profitable as in the print era (Downie & Schudson, 2011; McChesney & Pickard, 2011). Audiences are also scattered online, and the value of online journalism is declining when measured monetarily. Due to the large number of layoffs in media, the newsrooms have shrunk to one third of what they used to be. Consequently, the number of freelance journalists is growing, and there’s a constant, feverish search for new revenue sources.

One new potential revenue source for journalism is crowdfunding – a distributed funding model in which stories are funded by small donations or payments from a large crowd of people. Crowdfunding is a type of crowdsourcing; in crowdfunding, the crowdsourced task is to gather money for a certain purpose, and in crowdfunding in journalism, the task is to gather funding for a story pitched by a journalist. Freelance journalists pitch their story ideas on crowdfunding platforms, like Kickstarter, and community members – that is, anybody who goes to the website – can fund the pitches they like.

Crowdfunding in journalism has become increasingly common in recent years. Crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Beacon, and Spot.Us...

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