Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Investigating online business models. Or, where else is the money? (Online, that is)

Over the past four years, as my colleagues and I have worked with hundreds of editors and high-potential journalists to build their capacity and confidence to tackle the challenges of Digital, one question kept coming up,‘…but there’s no money online?’

Of course, that’s not entirely true. There’s a great deal of money being made online. Just ask Google. Or eBay. What is true is that the mainstream media aren’t getting very much of it.

So, for the last few years I’ve been looking into the online business models of the largest newspapers in Britain 66 cities and have only recently been in a position to share some of the findings.

* 12 September, I presented a paper based on the 2008 results at the second bi-annual Future of Journalism Conference 2009, held at Cardiff University. An edited version of that article is to be included in a special edition of the journal Journalism Practice.

* 28 October, I summarised the findings at the Autumn meeting of the Digital Editors Network and later that evening continued the discussion when I chaired the 13th Journalism Leaders Forum on the theme, Paywalls: Build them, break them,or look beyond them.

* 16 November, I presented the first comparision between the 2008 and 2009 findings as part of a session on new revenue models at the UK Society of Editors' annual conference held at Stansted. The session audio has been posted and PaidContent:UK reported the presentation here. My slides are below.
* 2 December, Martha Stone of the Shaping the Future of Newspaper project and I presented findings from some related research, the World Newspaper Future & Change Study 2009, at the 62 World Newspaper Congress in Hyderabad. The findings clearly show that publishers everywhere are now actively looking for new revenue streams beyond advertising and paid content - and aim to invest in training their staff to do so better, faster.

Right now, I'm swimming in data - including a comparison between the mobile strategies employed by regional newspapers and those of the leading national papers, as well as a look into what journalists do after being laid off (or leaping) - and hope to soon make time to write it up for conferences and industry fora. And, of course, I'll post updates here too.

PS: I welcome comments, suggestions and am always interested in collaboration with others working in the same field. So, please be in touch.