We’ve covered the challenges and possible solutions for the media business in solving the monetization puzzle in the past. One way to crack it is through micropayments. This time we asked for the opinion of industry specialists: how can journalism survive this new era and what might be the innovative ways for publishers to monetize their content?
Traditional journalism: dying or evolving?
The experts believe that traditional journalism is most definitely not dead and that the demand for fresh news is constant throughout time. Yet Ragne Kõuts-Klemm, the Associate Professor in Sociology of Journalism in the University of Tartu notes that just broadcasting news is not the field where it would be possible to ask the readers to pay. The habit of free news has taken root and the consumers don’t want mere info. They want added value, which can be found in investigative journalism. It is especially important to keep a constant level of quality because if a customer is disappointed once, the next time they’re not willing to pay for content.
Karin Vene, the business development director of AS Ekspress Meedia says that technological developments have forced them to be more innovative and pay attention to the storytelling formats, packaging and platforms. Using audiovisual and multimedia solutions has become an everyday part of journalism.
At the same time, wide access to reliable and objective news is a matter of societal safety. Karin Vene brings out the impact of social media, as it is a good ground for spreading fake news. On the other hand, filter bubbles form more easily in the social networks and just relying on getting the news from there can result in one-sided or tilted perspective. This is a clear threat to democracy and free journalism. Ragne Kõuts-Klemm additionally brings out the fragmentation of the public sphere where the ability and willingness to compromise decreases.
Monetization lies in collaboration
The solution to online publishing monetization problems lies in collaboration. Ragne Kõuts-Klemm would direct the content producers in the way of telecoms and internet service providers as they have the first hand contact with the auditorium. As the connection providers benefit from their clients consuming content online, they should be equally interested in maintaining the demand for that content. The answer could lie in bigger collaboration (or even a symbiosis, if you may) between telcos and media companies, which should also include fair distribution of revenue.
Different media companies both in journalism and across different formats should consider cooperation also between themselves. Kõuts-Klemm also brings out that consumers don’t want to limit themselves with just one media brand. The answer might be combining different competing media publications into one fixed price package. Karin Vene sees additional monetizing options through streaming different events. Media houses also complement their services with additional digital services, e.g. cooking portal of the New York Times.
The times are challenging but definitely not hopeless for the media companies. Media companies should acknowledge the limitations of their monetization options, as simply publishing news is vital but not very lucrative. At the same time, they should focus on collaboration instead of competing: both with telcos and among themselves.
Fortumo recently launched PayRead, the frictionless payment solution for digital publishers. If you want to want to simplify your paywall or monetize your content, get in touch and we’ll get you started.