Online newspapers make money

How Do Online Newspapers Make Money?

Are you curious how online newspapers make money? News publishers generate the most profit when they take a multi-platform approach to revenue optimization.

If you’re thinking about launching an online newspaper as a hobby, then revenue might not be important to you. For most publishers, though, finding a way to generate revenue is an important step in the business development process.

The ways that online newspapers make money have evolved over the years. It wasn’t very long ago that display advertising was the primary revenue tool. Now, successful digital publishers are taking a multi-platform approach. Thanks to diversification, a single online newspaper can generate money from a dozen or more sources. If one of those revenue streams dries up, the publisher is well positioned to continue on.

Savvy investors don’t bet it all on a single stock. Savvy publishers shouldn’t put all their eggs in one basket, either. Given how many opportunities there are for generating revenue from online publishing, there’s no reason to bet it all on one platform.

When it comes to business models, most digital publishers are taking one of two approaches. The vast majority of online newspapers make money using traditional business models adapted for the internet. Leaner, savvier online newspapers make money using an internet-specific business model that relies on the use of multiple platforms for revenue generation.

We all know how important advertising is for digital publishers, but did you know that many media companies are making just as much money from other sources? Some of the top sources of revenue for online newspapers right now are:

  • Subscription sales
  • Membership programs
  • Native advertising and sponsored content
  • Online directories
  • Community calendars
  • Affiliate links
  • Ecommerce sales (ebooks and branded merchandise)
  • Live and virtual events

It wasn’t very long ago that people thought selling display advertising was the only way for online newspapers to make money, but today’s publishers have a huge variety of options.

Subscription sales can be very lucrative for online newspapers with the right conversion strategies. Website overlays, email follow-up messages, and even social media advertising are all tools that publishers can use to increase subscription sales.

All-access memberships are another way that publishers can generate revenue. With this strategy, the publisher sets multiple membership tiers, each with individual pricing. At the lowest tier, readers get access to standard content. In the middle tier, readers might get access to that content, plus podcasts without ads or exclusive newsletters. At the highest tier, readers get tickets to private events (either live or virtual), along with special newsletters, videos, archive access, and other content that’s usually kept locked behind a paywall. Putting premium products under one roof makes an online newspaper’s highest priced membership tier more desirable.

Live events, both in-person and virtual, are a more recent addition to the online publisher’s revenue toolkit. Part of having a multi-platform revenue strategy is finding ways to generate income that’s separate from your website. Live events fall into this category. Not only can online newspapers make money by selling tickets to events, but they can also sell sponsorship packages to local businesses. Live events create demand for additional products, like branded swag and access to on-demand video content, as well.

A quick example of how this could work: Imagine an online newspaper that hosts a two-day leadership seminar. People pay for tickets to the event, and local businesses pay to sponsor the event and have their logos included on event programs and signage. During the seminar, the online newspaper sells branded swag, like t-shirts and mugs. After the event, the newspaper posts recordings of the seminar’s top sessions on its website and charges visitors to access that content. The newspaper could also encourage people to sign up for paid subscriptions by making on-demand videos from the seminar available to subscribers for free.

In-person and virtual events are an excellent place for publishers to sell books and other products. As part of a multi-platform revenue strategy, many online newspapers make money by turning longform articles into ebooks and printed books that are sold through Amazon and on their own websites.

If you thought that online newspapers could only make money from display advertising, you were wrong. Publishers these days are generating revenue in a variety of ways. To learn more about how to use the multi-platform revenue strategy to increase profits at your publication, reach out to Web Publisher PRO.