Print remains the primary revenue driver for most newspapers, but after 20 years of online news publishing we ask the critical question: how will publishers sustain newsrooms at scale when print has disappeared, or has contracted to a weekend luxury experience?
The question needs to be answered in the context of both: 1) Rapidly declining advertising revenues in print media; and 2) A tiny and shrinking market share of digital advertising revenues
We believe these circumstances strongly imply the race for audience scale is more investor fallacy than a sustainable business prize; and besides, over-reliance on the advertising market for quality content provision is unappealing, particularly to proudly independent news publishers
Reader revenue, long assumed to be an impossibility for general quality digital news services, is the only answer
Registrations, membership and subscription models are being explored, tested, adopted or exploited by almost every major quality news provider in the US and Europe
The transition to subscription is hugely attractive, but requires first and foremost a new editorial strategy, requiring a wholesale business transformation