The news monetization conundrum - Reuters News Agency

The news monetization conundrum

Making the most of digital advertising

By  Lorna White | Feb 04, 2019

Quality journalism and content do not come for free

Quality journalism and content do not come for free. Yet, consumers’ constant thirst for an endless stream of free news is seemingly reflected in their behavior. The question for publishers and creators is how to monetize this content in order to keep producing quality output, and meet demand.

Monetizing through digital advertising is a way to ensure that the content being consumed is supported by advertiser revenue. The advertising industry is growing, with global digital ad spend forecast to grow 17.1% to $327.28 billion in 2019. But, above all, the consumer experience should be at the forefront of a publisher’s monetization strategy. Long-gone are the days of pop-up banners as the advent of adblockers aims to create a more sustainable industry.

Work with outcome-based options

Working with outcome-based options allows brands to determine the results of ad campaigns with greater certainty – building the case for brand associations and helping to secure more revenue.  However, the risk here is that the click bait and chase for outcomes (which can be helpful in generating immediate metrics), can result in diminishing the true business impact of the campaign.

Advertisers and publishers need to work together to prove the value of advertising,through in-depth measurement and maintenance of ad quality, to continue securing advertising revenue and build sustainable investment.

Produce ad funded content

When building partnerships with brands, one of the most valuable opportunities to both publisher and advertiser is to produce ad funded content. Ensuring there is a balance between both publisher and advertiser brand values will deliver editorial credibility as well as true business outcomes from the investment. Content produced can vary from advertorial written articles, to full video series. Depending on the desired result, the two parties need to work together to deliver the content their audiences crave.

Subscriptions, subscriptions, subscriptions

Further opportunities for monetization come from subscriptions. Subscriptions have had varied uptake across the industry, from asking for contribution-based support such as The Guardian, to the subscriptions paywall employed by The New York Times.

Advertising revenue can also deliver a balance between these options, with companies offering consumers the ability to answer questions in order to continue reading content. This establishes a value exchange, and helps to educate consumers that to keep producing quality content, publishers need to find a balance.

Put consumer experience first

Ultimately, to build a sustainable future for publishing, the consumer experience must come first, and ads need to be fit for purpose rather than interruptive.  If ads adhere to this, consumers are more likely to accept them. Funding content with advertiser marketing spend doesn’t have to compromise the publisher output –– so long as the activity is treated as a partnership where each brand’s credibility complements and adds value to the other.  It is this symbiosis that is at the heart of solving the great, monetization conundrum.


The opinions expressed in this piece are of the individual author and/or contributor and do not reflect those of Reuters