Revenue streams beyond the big three
Once upon a time, everyone knew how journalism publications made money: memberships/paywalls, ads and events. The industry is changing quickly, which creates obstacles to relying on the big three—and possibilities for new revenue streams.
Experts from the New York Times, ProPublica, Institute for Nonprofit News and more have shared their thoughts on identifying creative new sources of revenue. Here are some ideas, collected from several ONA conference resources over the years:
- Expand into new and emerging markets. At ONA15 (and still resonant today), the New York Times’ Charo Henríquez pointed out that Latin America is an important emerging market with a lot of revenue potential—but cautioned that entering emerging markets requires having a good grasp of cultural nuance and a diverse staff.
- Sell data that you’ve collected. ProPublica, long a leader in data journalism, has gathered and built extensive data sets on topics ranging from criminal justice to health. Leadership realized that they could repurpose this data and sell it to others interested in conducting their own investigations. The result was ProPublica’s Data Store.
- Reuse content. Data isn’t the only thing that can be packaged and reused. Most publications have plenty of existing lifestyle coverage that could be repackaged into paid guides, such as “the visitors’ guide to Dallas.”
- Build a texting relationship with the audience. Not everyone is interested in news websites or the chaos of social media. Paid two-way SMS engagement—where you text the audience and they can text you back with questions—can be an innovative way to bring in money, deliver news and build new relationships.
- Create a Speakers Bureau. Many journalists receive speaking requests and it can be a hassle to negotiate and approve these case-by-case. Creating an in-newsroom speakers bureau can be a way to consolidate and organize the requests, earn some of the honorarium and also avoid the problem of conflict-of-interest when a journalist personally accepts an honorarium.
Dig deeper: The Revenue Roundup: 6 Idea$ to Monetize Your Newsroom
Takeaway: Finding new revenue streams doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of time going out and fundraising. Every newsroom has existing strengths that can be applied to new tools and revenue models.
We’re always on the lookout for helpful resources and tips. If you have other examples to share, please reply directly to this email.