Few industries have been as hard hit by declining revenues as the media business, and in particular, newspapers. Newspaper advertising revenues have fallen for the sixth consecutive year and were down 6 percent in 2012. While digital advertising revenue grew 3.7 percent in 2012, this figure does not come close to covering print ad losses. Last year, companies only added $1 in digital advertising revenue for every $15 lost in print advertising. Even as digital ad volume improves, prices are depressed because of the growing number of places to advertise online, such as Facebook and Twitter.
While print advertising continues to be the most profitable revenue source for newspapers, it is important for media companies to look for alternative revenue streams in order to offset declines in traditional revenue streams.
Here are a few alternatives to consider:
- Digital marketing services. Many media/newspaper companies already have the in-house expertise to provide social marketing services to local business communities, with demographics and a database of local firms that can be used to develop the service.
- Community events. Since newspapers and media companies have a significant footprint in communities, many have the capability and resources to produce one or more community events during the course of the year. These occasions, such as community festivals or wine/beer tasting events, can lead to sponsorship and advertising opportunities for the event as well as other revenue streams.
- Local search: A multi-faceted directory can offer photos, videos, coupons, menus, user reviews, reservations, and other options for local businesses that do not have their own websites.
- Video advertising on websites: Video advertising is becoming more popular and is an excellent way for businesses in the community to advertise online.
- Promotional offers: Coupons and/or “deal of the day” offers from local businesses represent another potential for income.
There are many areas in which media companies can offer valuable services that may be monetized to increase revenues and profitability. Media companies are traditionally well branded in their communities with owners, publishers, advertising directors, and other executives involved in a variety of local activities. Evaluate capabilities and assets to develop new revenue sources that will help diversify the business and become less reliant on traditional revenue streams.