The future of traditional journalism looks sketchy at best. Newspapers are dying, TV and radio viewers are switching off, online is the answer blah blah by now you should all know the spiel.
It's getting to the stage - scratch that, it's already well past the stage were we can continue to refer to the internet as some vague guardian angel who'll swoop down and save our sweet, news-gathering souls. Most news organisations well and truly missed the boat when it comes to bringing their content online and it's going to be a long, hard swim to catch up.
As with any emerging industry (which is what we have to consider journalism as, so massive are the fundamental changes occuring), everyone's got their own ideas of how to succeed. Unfortunately, at this stage none of them are very good. Essentially there are two philosophies on how to make money from online journalism: Advertising and Paywalls.
Advertising can be broken down into two main categories, Pay Per Click (PPC) and Pay Per Impression, both of which have distinct advantages and disadvantages.
PPC advertising is easily the least beneficial because advertisers only pay when someone actually clicks on the ad. Rates are much higher but studies suggest click through rates on these ads are at 0.1% and falling meaning the revenue stream is tiny.
For this reason, PPI is more beneficial because the advertiser gets charged every time an ad is served someone browsing the website. Unfortunately, because their is so much choice for advertisers on the net, rates for this sort of advertising have to be many many times cheaper than comparable ads in newspapers. If you charge too much, it's not too hard for companies to find somewhere else to advertise.
Many sites use a combination of both tactics to make a base sum of money from impressions and then treat any clicks as a bonus.
Coming Soon: Paywalls