Digital media’s money making methods // week 9

As dead tree editions dwindle and we move into the era of digital news, the question arises as to how native digital news organisations make money ? In order to create quality content an organisation needs money.

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In a QUT online journalism lecture, Queensland University of Technology tutor Graham Cairns said more than half of the visits to a website are driven by social media. The good news is this indicates the public’s appetite for news still remains. The bad news is people often go to the article, then go straight back to Facebook, for example, and do not read any other articles on that news website. Thus spending less time on the site. In August 2016 Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook was a delivery platform not a news source. “We are a tech company, not a media company,” he said. “We build the tools, we do not produce any content.” This is a problem when considering the way in which digital news organisations make money.

Advertisements are the most common form of revenue for legacy media’s websites. News organisations such as BBC.com, Brisbane Times and The Guardian all run ad-supported websites. Third parties pay the organisations for each click made by readers on their advertisements. An issue for ad-supported websites are ad-blockers. People who use ad-blocking software on their search engines limit the potential clicks and thus the revenue for news organisations.

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Source: Twitter
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Using ad blocking software is regarded as stealing by some. Article available here explains this opinion and why ad blockers are so harmful to online publishers.

Some news organisations provide subscription services in addition to or instead of advertisements displayed on their websites. The Courier Mail provides a majority of their articles free to readers, while selected articles are classified as ‘premium’and only subscribers may access them. The Australian Financial Review is predominately a subscription service with readers being blocked from articles after three free views.

There has been recent discussion over whether The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald will only put out ‘dead tree’ editions on the weekends and publish online-only content during weekdays. the reason for this proposal is because weekend newspapers are still genuinely read due to, for example, the classifieds and travel sections which are specifically contained in weekend editions.

“There is not going to be one business model to replace the one the Internet broke,” said Jay Rosen.

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