14 news business models: which is the best one?
Zachary M. Seward, at Nieman Journalism Lab and Alan Mutter recently came up with the cost "to sustain every American newspaper in perpetuity as non-profit organizations" - $114 billion.
1. This will save only the editorial staff. 2. Who says newsroom journalists have a monopoly over original journalism?
So, what models for the news business do we have at present? Here are 14 news business models to choose from:
1. Public funds investigative journalism on a case-by-case basis: e.g. Spot.us [Dave Cohn's site]
2. Angel funding for investigative journalism: e.g. Propublica [funded by Craig Newmark]
3. Government funds Journalism: e.g. BBC [great work, autonomous], Prasar Bharati (India) - Not so great output due to government interference
4. A Non-profit Trust funds Journalism: e.g. The Guardian
5. Regular Donation Drives funds Journalism: e.g. NPR [Radio]
6. Small, localized, Print on demand newspapers: e.g. theprintedblog.com - aggregates from local blogs
7. Small, online only news teams [max. size 10] focused on a niche/locality: e.g. Paidcontent, Gigaom
8. A mix of free papers for young people and special editions with analysis for an older crowd
9. Subsidize serious reporting with consumer service coverage [gadgets, celebrities, lifestyles, shopping]: e.g. NYT's Lifestyle publications make the real money
10. Subsidize serious reporting with non-intrusive business line extensions: e.g. Dilbert creator Scott Adams created a computer file storage business with his character's name. Other options include being more like an ad agency for advertisers.
11. Small Newsroom of Investigative reporters, brand name bloggers and community managers, who aggregate and summarize everything else (reviews, opinions) from blogs and other sources: e.g. The Huffington Post
12. Subscription based site plus free articles: e.g. Economist.com, FT.com, WSJ.com - all are business titles
13. iTunes type Pay for each article using micropayments.
Problems: 1. Articles are not pieces of music that people can listen repeatedly 2. Micropayments are intrusive.
14. Newspapers consortiums join forces with distributors like Google or Yahoo: Something like Yahoo Buzz plus Google Adsense.
The discerning reader will note a few overlapping ideas in the above list: small newsroom sizes, mostly online, print only when you have to, focus on original reporting.
Next: Vote for your favorite news business model for these changing times over at Bighow Poll.