It’s no secret that traditional media has struggled to adapt to the digital age. According to Dailyfinance.com, the value of the newspaper industry fell from $59 billion to $34 billion in just 11 years. Though many newspapers continue to suffer steep declines in revenue, others are adapting with the times by creating new hybrid business models for content that may become the standard for media sites in the future. Forbes.com’s Lewis DVorkin discusses the site’s hybrid business model for online news and its relevance to other media organizations going forward.
With the advent of pay-for-performance advertising, the Internet is increasingly split between high-quality sites with low advertising yields versus volume-driven sites with high yields. It’s becoming clear that the traditional newspaper business model must undergo a total overhaul if editors want to match marketplace economics – which is what Forbes aims to do with its new high-volume online newsroom, launched two years ago.
By expanding its staff of full-time reporters to include nearly 1,000 knowledgeable contributors, Forbes is able to generate 400 to 500 posts a day, providing a high volume of original, scalable content. Forbes online contributors are made up of authors, business experts, and academics, many of whom freelance at other high-profile news organizations. The site also monitors its content quality, periodically culling writers who don’t meet its standards. All this has had a measurable impact for Forbes; its audience has grown from 15 million visitors in October 2010 to 37.5 million visitors on October 2012.
Forbes isn’t the only media site trying to adapt its scalability for the web. The recent deal between Wenner Media and Yahoo is, among other things, a marriage of convenience between strong brand recognition (with Wenner Media’s Rolling Stone and Us Weekly brands), and scale (Yahoo!’s broad reach among web users). As media companies struggle to remain competitive in the digital age, it will have to strike the right balance between both.
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