Eight years ago, I had an opportunity to speak to a group of marketing pros in Boston about the future of paid content. I was invited to speak by my friend and former colleague, Sloane Kelley, one of the founders of Geekend, an annual gathering now in its 11th year.
I had an audio recording from the talk in my files, and this week I finally connected it to the slide deck I presented on that day October day in 2011.
My GeekEnd 2011 Presentation
I am surprised to hear how current some of the topics sound eight years later. Today, we have less news, fewer journalists, but a greater number of paywalls. Clearly, content producers, small and large, continue to struggle.
According to Pew Research, newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 23% from 2008 to 2017, and the slide into newlessness continues unabated today.
Will Better Data and Better Business Practices Save Journalism?
There are many economic and societal factors contributing to journalism’s decline. Digital disrupted this legacy industry, and the impacts of the seismic event continue to reverberate.
On May 8, Salon Media Group disclosed in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it had sold Salon to Chris Richmond and Drew Schoentrup, the owners of monetization services firm Proper Media, for $5 million — a far cry from the $107 million the company was valued at when it went public in 1999.
Salon’s new owners say they see an easy path toward profits — without cutting editorial at the small publisher, which now has fewer than 30 full-time employees. Richmond believes that his team can slim Salon’s operating and technology expenses and win better rates for the site’s display inventory. He also sees a path toward adding consumer revenue, though the focus for the site will be on programmatic advertising.
Reader Support Is A Reach, But It’s Always Needed and Appreciated
Midway through the 2011 presentation highlighted above, I discuss Adpulp.com and the attempts that have been made here to create a steady flow of income from advertisers and from members of the audience.
The short version is making money from this highly specialized content is a grind. Our audience is not large enough for us to rely solely on ad-based revenue, and our readers, like readers of digital content everywhere in the world, seem to be convinced that this resource will be here tomorrow.
For the record, Adpulp is a passion play, now in its 15th year. We provide the kind of news and opinion that our readers can use to elevate their performance on the job. Our archive contains more than 10,000 articles. Please use our search function and drop-down menu on the sidebar to dig for items of interest. Better content leads to more informed advertising workers, which leads to better work. That’s the equation and our reason for showing up here on a daily basis.
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