Business Models, Strategies, Issues and Trends
3 Current journalism business models – new ways to support traditional revenue streams
This chapter sets the scene before we explore new business model options in later chapters. It describes a range of models that media companies have employed with varying degrees of success. It begins by exploring paid content, and then looks in detail at aggregation, search engine optimization, hyperlocal and dayparting strategies. The chapter concludes with an analysis of what happened with classified advertising and examines the emerging model of distributed media.
The realization that traditional business models and strategies to support journalism will no longer be sufficient in the digital age has resulted in new, increasingly desperate, attempts to find extra revenue streams. Gathering, packaging and disseminating the news is expensive. Some strategies, such as Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and premium content creation, have been aimed at finding new ways to bolster the longtime mainstays of advertising and subscriptions. Other efforts have involved creating new products that readers will be willing to pay for, such as personalized information created through database manipulation.
The Holy Grail for online news providers is the elusive paid content model – getting readers to pay for news online as they have for print. But that has proved difficult, if not impossible. Online readers have made it clear – so far, anyway, that they will not pay for information they are accustomed to getting for free. Surveys and marketplace experimentation have borne this out.
Consumers are not entirely averse to paying for content. As Slate editor-at-large Jack Shafer pointed...
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