Publishers: 2 trends that are giving rise to new business models | What’s New in Publishing
Note: Four years ago I was asked to identify some trends shaping digital journalism. The two trends I have singled out have only accelerated, and the resulting 10 paradigms have not changed either. The media I mentioned as case studies are still going strong.
Publishers are looking to users and moving away from advertisers and investors as their main source of financial support.
The business model that depended on advertising to sustain journalism is moribund and nearly dead. The automated buying and selling of advertising is controlled by the Google and Facebook duopoly, which have more and better data about news publishers’ users than the publishers themselves.
Publishers have no way to compete with this dominance of ad scheduling and targeting. It’s time to burn the ships and not look back.
Amid the deluge of spam, misinformation, clickbait and fake news, a news organization’s added value will come from its credibility.
News media need to build credibility and trust by interacting more directly with their audience, listening to their audience, embracing transparency about their owners and investors, detailing their funding sources and spending practices, and, most importantly, doing investigative journalism that holds political and business leaders accountable for their actions.
Because of these two trends, there are 10 new paradigms for digital journalism:
News agencies should first seek to build a community around high-quality content that touches the social, intellectual and emotional needs and concerns of their audience.
2. Users rather than advertisers and investors
Sponsorship content and messages align with the ethical and social values of users, not the profit goals of advertisers and investors. Talking Points Memo provides a good example.
3. Relationships rather than a scale
The important metric is not the number of eyeballs in the public, but how journalists interact with and respond to the needs of their community.
4. Quality over quantity
Instead of saturating audiences with breaking news on topics that everyone is covering, they produce “slow news” that offers explanation, context, and analysis. The Dutch Correspondent opted for the slow-news model.
5. Public service rather than for-profit companies
Digital news outlets will produce investigative reports that challenge the narratives spread by powerful business and political interests. MediaPart from France and eldiario.es from Spain have adopted this model.
6. Social capital rather than financial capital
These digital media often lack financial capital, so they must find ways to monetize their social capital to obtain contributions and investments based on the credibility of their contentthe reputation of their journalists and their links with other media and community organizations.
7. Members rather than subscribers
Those who contribute financially to a publication do not buy information as part of a purely economic transaction; they support the mission of the publication, which is usually to serve a specific community. Whether called partners, members, friends, supporters, sponsors, or otherwise, they form the backbone of dozens of service-oriented media outlets. The Membership Puzzle Project identified more than 100 examples.
8. Niche media rather than mass media
The media that thrive are those that exploit topics and audiences bypassed by traditional media because they are not lucrative enough. Among the neglected topics or communities are human rights, public education, quality of public services, health, environment, gender, small business, innovation and science. Perspective Daily from Germany has 13,000 paying subscribers to its science articles intended for a general audience.
9. The renaissance of personal media such as email and blogs
The advantage of these personalized media is that they can be isolated from Google and Facebook. TheSkimm and Business of Fashion are two examples media who have accomplished this.
10. New narrative formats driven by new technologies
Many of these formats are driven by free or low-cost technologies that enable the organization and exploration of huge databases. Argentina Linguoo started as a news reading service for the blind which has spread to other services.
And a bonus paradigm for those who have read this far:
Collaboration rather than competition
A wonderful example is the work of Ojo Publico in Peru, which engaged four other publications in its investigation into the theft of thousands of Latin American art and cultural objects.
This article was originally published on Entrepreneurial journalismand is republished with permission.