World Association of News Publishers

Alternative Revenue Streams for Publishers

Alternative Revenue Streams for Publishers


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You've heard it numerous times in the last years: Print is shrinking yet still provides most of the industry's revenues (about 90 percent globally). Digital remains a small slice of the revenue pie – it's growing, but not quickly enough.

To overstate the obvious: A diversified business model is the only way forward. But how do we get there? What works where? When? There are no easy answers.

The collision between the traditional publishing world and the digital economy forces us to rethink everything we have tried before. That means developing new products for advertisers, taking an innovative approach to holding events, and finding ways to monetize new kinds of content such as video.

This report includes numerous case studies of publishers who are making substantial investments to tap those and other revenue streams. They have shared with us best practice, "best-failure", and insights that can result only from experience.

The cases we have selected for this report fall into two categories. One finds small and large media companies investing to develop revenue sources that have been in their portfolio for some time but remained largely dormant because other areas were easier to exploit. The second category finds publishers using existing strengths to finance ventures into completely new areas.

These are just three of many takeaways from the 92-page report:

  • Obviously, there is no "silver bullet" revenue stream out there that publishers can latch onto to create a sustainable business; hence the urgency of exploring all logical possibilities.
  • That urgency must come, however, from a bold but thoughtful leader who brings a vision of change far broader than "a tweak here and a tweak there." In all the successes profiled here, that type of leadership is indeed a common thread.
  • Simply managing the decline of the legacy business while hoping that digital revenue makes up for it is a doomsday scenario. As Dallas Morning News publisher Jim Moroney says: "To create a sustainable business model, you have to have growth.”

From the table of contents

Introduction: Rethinking Revenue

Chapter 1: Diversification
– Stick to the core business, go outside of publishing – or do both?
– Choosing streams to tap – advice from a transformation ace
Case studies:
– NOZ Medien
– Dallas Morning News
– Boston Globe

Chapter 2: Events
– Not for the faint of heart, but full of potential
Case studies:
– Texas Tribune
– FT Live
– Grupo Nación
– Le Télégramme de Brest

Chapter 3: Digital Marketing Services
– A 'natural' niche for newspapers?
– Opinion: Direct access – a huge disruption of local media
Case studies:
– Südkurier
– Johnston Press
– Archant

Chapter 4: E-Commerce
– Cashing in, or furthering the relationship with readers?
Case studies:

Chapter 5: Video
– Hot property right now, but still uncharted territory for publishers
– Approach video with an eye to quality, not quantity


Anton Jolkovski, Valérie Arnould, Steve Shipside, Cecilia Campbell


Anton Jolkovski's picture

Anton Jolkovski


2016-04-06 10:04

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