Paul Bradshaw, who writes for Online Journalism Blog, says forget about making money from online content (which is what USA Today recently announced it will be doing with its digital edition) and focus instead on value-added services:
Bradshaw’s points about newspapers needing to build new revenue streams is echoed in this post from John Temple, former editor and publisher for the Rocky Mountain News:
I don’t think the industry can get there if all it does is try to hold on to its legacy revenue streams and its legacy business. One thing that concerns me is that newspapers don’t seem to be working with local businesses to help them find their own foothold on the Internet and at the same time possibly place themselves in the middle of transactions. This might enable them to find a new revenue stream they couldn’t have tapped before.
And here’s just one example, provided by the Center for Strategic and International studies, of a news outlet that is going beyond advertising for its income:
European companies have also been finding creative ways to thrive in a changing media environment. Norway’s VG Nett, which is affiliated with the popular Norwegian tabloid, Verdens Gang, rivals Google in Norway and has a profit margin of nearly 30 percent. It does this through charging for services such as a $90-a-year weight-loss club, a pay-for-upgrade social networking site and streaming soccer games.