Home > Master's Capstone Project, Journalism Blog > New Way For News Sites to Get Business to Pay?

New Way For News Sites to Get Business to Pay?

In reviewing some of the older bookmarks that have seemed to gained value with a little bit of age and marinating in my Google account, there is one idea that may work for a local news organization to make money on the Web, and I’m interested to hear what you have to say about it.
The idea stems from a post by Jeff Jarvis back on Feb. 5. One line hit home:

“…we won’t be selling media to merchants — banners ‘n’ buttons — so much as we will be selling service: helping them with all their digital needs, including optimizing them in Google and Yelp and social media and mobile.”

It’s true. When attempting to persuade a local business to buy into a start-up local site, a news organization needs to provide a rich and deep benefit for the money instead of simply plastering its site with an obstructive advertisement.
After talking it over with my Hofstra University mentor, Mo Krochmal, we reached an agreement: use Ning.com, a site to create a social network.
For $40 a month, a news organization could:
  • host the self-created social media network under its own domain
  • style CSS to fit the model of its site
  • place whatever ads it wants
  • control who becomes a part of the social community
Businesses would ultimately pay to join or pay to place coupons, videos and any other advertising posts on its page inside the network. This would give a business a platform to share its voice with a site’s users.
Of course, as with anything on the Web, this should begin in a beta form, allowing a limited number of businesses to join for free. The idea is to control the supply and the demand will increase. Once kinks get worked out, and other businesses become excited and eager to join, then it goes “premium” and new businesses begin paying.
By creating a social network, the ability of a news organization to become creative with the services it can provide (and can charge businesses for) is limitless – versus the two-dimensional advertising model (banner ads and video pre-rolls).
Most advertising-based models don’t last long during investor presentations, according to Jarvis, thus a start-up news organization needs a unique revenue plan that is well-developed, and has a place in the future. Businesses paying for social network access may need to be more developed than I have here, but it certainly has a place in the future with more room to grow.
Note: This post is part of my on-going master’s capstone project at Hofstra University. More information on the capstone (and to provide new ideas, spark a conversation and leave feedback) can be found here.

Tim Robertson
Managing Editor
Nassau News Live
www.nassaunewslive.com

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