Print publications are trying to deal with a variety of issues, including lower advertising sales, changing reader habits and a weak economy. But if they adopted a different business model, those troubles might not be a problem anymore.
Here’s a look at some of the business models various publications have taken:
Some publications have decided to go the online-only route and give everything away for free, like the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and PC World. Choosing this avenue can save a fortune on production and delivery costs, not to mention worrying about the cyclical price of newsprint. But there are also mistakes to avoid if taking this route.
Charging for content
There are a few rare publications that do charge for content and have done well. The Wall Street Journal is obviously the most successful with more than one million online subscribers. Its website, WSJ.com, is a bit of a hybrid of sorts, offering a mix of both paid and unpaid content. ESPN The Magazine recently switched over to a paid model and The Economist is considering such a move as well.Sites that cater to a niche audience have had an easier time charging for news than other general news sites.
Publications that aren’t actually in the business to make money shouldn’t be confused with the ones that are losing money. The former depend upon a foundation and reader support to keep them up and running. There are already non-profit news organizations such as The Canadian Press and the Associated Press. In terms of publications, probably the most well-known Canadian magazine with this model is The Walrus, which also recently launched a video to ask people to subscribe and donate to the magazine. However, the foundation approach could bring up potential conflicts of interest.