March 30, 2007
Increasing Online Revenues Not Matching Print Downfalls
The growth in online advertising is not enough to compensate for decreasing revenues from the downslide of print ads. So, how are mainstream media outlets making up the difference?
During a International Symposium on Online Journalism panel titled The Transformations of Business Models- How the Online Audience and Revenues are Changing how Newspapers do Business, Julie Weber, General Manager of MySanAntonio.com, discussed innovations papers are using to make online news profitable.
Online Journalism audiences are rising. Online revenue growth for newspaper sites has risen by 41 percent, Weber said during the 2007 International Symposium on Online Journalism Friday. Still, less than 10 percent of total revenue from newspapers comes from online advertising.
The San Antonio Express-News’ first online sales and marketing manager, Weber now manages MySanAntonio.com, the leading Website in South Texas and a joint-effort run by the Express-News and KENS-TV.
Though classified listings are declining online, a major source of revenue, they still account for nearly 60 percent of page views on MySanAntonio.com.
Weber said the web allows for more experimentation with stories and new audiences, where space is not at a premium as in the paper.
To gain profitability, the website has expanded to niche media. For example, a hunter can log on, find maps to a hunting site, make reservations, sign up for a hunting lease, buy gear, and read blogs about great places to eat along the way- all on one webpage.
Because of the popularity of these sites, news organizations have started to sell “sponsorships” for each webpage, which allows the sponsor to add links to their website.
Another way revenues are rebounding is through short commercials that pre-roll at the beginning of video clips on multimedia websites, such as MySanAntonio.com.
“Answer the knock at the door, opportunity doesn’t knock twice,” she said.
Weber closed with a quote from Merrill-Lynch that asked, “When will the gains in online (revenues) offset the declines in print? We believe there is not an answer to this question yet.”
Weber hopes the answer will come sooner than later, but she will keep selling ads until then.