Journalism has a revenue problem.
In an industry that’s still being disrupted daily by digital technology and mobile distribution, it’s critical for news outlets to evolve their business model in order to survive.
“You have got to figure out a way to let journalism stand on its own and do what it does well, which is represent the community and shed a light on issues in the community,” said Eric Bright, vice president of e-commerce at Deseret Digital Media. “Journalism does not make money. You have to figure out a way to make money so you can subsidize the really important need of journalism.”
Bright was speaking this past July to an audience of journalists and marketers at the Association of Alternative Newsmedia‘s annual convention in Salt Lake City.
“Content is not a business model,” Bright said. “The reason being is it’s really difficult to monetize content. You can do it, but we all spend all of our time monetizing around the content.”
Bright is not a journalist, though he works for an online media company. He has more than 14 years of experience in e-commerce, marketing and business management. So, when he talks about media disruption, he’s talking about shifting the focus away from advertising to new forms of revenue.
“It’s really the difference between an advertising paradigm and an e-commerce paradigm,” Bright said. “In advertising, you’re focusing on the advertiser. What does our advertiser client want to say to our audience?”
E-commerce, on the other hand, is focused on the end-user.
“Create a really great experience for your customer and you’ll get results,” Bright said. “Optimize the funnel. Get people to your site and all the way through as fast as you can. Traditional media is get people to my site and then have them dilly-dally around, send them to as many page views as you can, cause I’m monetized around page views.”
The goal is to determine what your customer wants and then give them what they want.
“Listen to your customers,” Bright said. “That’s you’re only asset. That’s your golden goose, your customers. Listen to them. Solve for their needs, protect yourself from all those other people out there that are trying to chip away at your business and then evolve. Disrupt yourself.”
This week’s It’s All Journalism podcast features audio from Eric Bright’s presentation at the 2015 AAN Conference in Salt Lake City: “Best be finding some new revenue, son.” Bright is the vice president of e-commerce at Deseret Digital Media, which focuses on on marketplace commerce products such as Classifieds, Deals, Shops, Local and Utah.com. has more than 14 years of experience in e-commerce, online and offline marketing, and business management.