Google and Facebook haven't given publishers many options when it comes to generating revenue. The two tech giants own virtually all of the digital advertising market. Not to mention, anyone can run an ad with moderate effort targeting their potential customers down to where they live and their occupation type.
Is advertising impossible for local news publications?
Yes, there's still a desire for traditional banner ads from local businesses in local communities. Offering advertising in your newsletter is also a great way to boost revenue. Selling digital obituaries is another option. However, don't count on advertising alone to fund your entire news operation.
Will local newspapers be able to generate the same amount of income that they used to?
This really depends on the audience size. When it comes to paywalls, we are essentially shifting the model away from advertising to small monthly/yearly recurring payments from readers. While this process can be slow, the investment pays huge dividends, especially when customer retention rates are high month-to-month. Generating revenue via readers is a lot less risky as it diversifies income across thousands of individuals versus relying on a handful of large advertisers.
Revenue is directly correlated to the number of people willing to pay for your local news content. Determine how many subscribers you'd like to have, and the potential market size for your paper or niche content, and go from there.
We recommend a free wall or trial approach when getting started to grow your newsletter. If you happen to be in the market for a fully managed subscription platform, we can help!