Submojour: Sustainable business models in journalism

Chasing sustainability on the net is one of the key challenges of the digital distributed age. Tools that have proven to be so powerful for communication have failed to prove to be similarly innovative for generating revenues.

This report outlines how online-based journalistic startups have created their economical locker in the evolving media ecology. The research introduces the ways that startups have found sustainability in the markets of ten countries. The work is based on 69 case studies from Europe, USA and Japan.

Read the full report

The case analysis shows that business models can be divided into two groups. The storytelling-oriented business models are still prevalent in our findings. These are the online journalistic outlets that produce original content – news and stories for audiences. But the other group, service-oriented business models, seems to be growing. This group consists of sites that don’t try to monetize the journalistic content as such but rather focus on carving out new functionality.

The project was able to identify several revenue sources: advertising, paying for content, affiliate marketing, donations, selling data or services, organizing events, freelancing and training or selling merchandise. Where it was hard to evidence entirely new revenue sources, it was however possible to find new ways in which revenue sources have been combined or reconfigured. The report also offers practical advice for those who are planning to start their own journalistic site.

It was a pleasure to work with Esa Sirkunnen, Tampere, Helsinki based Pekka Pekkala, Johanna Vehkoo  Japan’s Mikihito Tanaka, Effecinque’s Nicola Bruno, Italy based Luchino Sívori and many more and editing the book was a real privilege.




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