Detalle Publicación

Revenue diversification strategies of online news organisations: subscriptions and memberships

ISSN: 1699-2407
Volumen: 32
Número: 2
Páginas: e320205
Fecha de publicación: 2023
The funding model crisis for newspapers is a matter of public concern; and it is not only a business issue, but also a social and political one, as news organisations are considered to have an irreplaceable function in democratic systems. Technological and social changes have transformed the business model of news organisations so that, in a digital scenario with a strong competition for consumers¿ attention, they have had to diversify their portfolio of income streams. In such a context, this study analyses the state of the diversification of revenue streams in the Spanish digital media market, using the available data from the total universe of digital media in the country. The article focusses on the two most common revenue streams related to user payment -subscriptions and memberships- and analyses the importance of four variables in this diversification of revenue strategies: their nature (digital native versus traditional), thematic scope (general versus specialised), territorial scope (local versus national), and the type of organisation that promotes it (traditional, new, or independent groups). The data obtained suggest that there are no universal formulae in the implementation of payment models for Spanish digital media. Specifically, there are significant differences in the revenue models between native and non-native digital media. Thus, payment strategies are more prevalent among non-native digital media than among native media. Furthermore, the non-native media that have opted for paid models tend to diversify their sources of income more than the non-native ones based on free model. Additionally, data show that paywalls and memberships are more usual among specialised non-native digital media and generalist native outlets. Also, payments are more often required by local and regional media than national outlets. From the ownership point of view, although the main Spanish media corporations are developing their revenue models, the pay-per-content model is also quite extended among organisations, associations, and foundations not linked with the traditional publishing groups. This study, due to its exhaustiveness, dimensions, and novelty, identifies in detail the current state of the implementation of the pay model for digital media in Spain, which can help and facilitate media managers in their decision-making.