Category Archives: Business

After reverse publishing, it’s time to consider the ‘reverse subscription model’

Man attacks door, in reverseWhat is a reverse subscription model? Cedric Motte looks at what happens when you see digital as the heart of your distribution marketing and the paper as a commodity. This post was originally published in French on NewsResources.

Digital as the heart of the subscription marketing plan ?

“Reverse publishing” first hit newsroom organisations some years ago (although many medias didn’t switch and instead “just” added another digital newsroom downstairs).

The idea is simple: because of mobile penetration and generous data plans, readers use their mobile (and tablet at home) to access news along the day. So a newsroom has to think about releasing news in a digital way to keep up with the tempo of news. The paper comes later. Continue reading

How do you cost your work as a freelance multimedia/data/community journalist? 3 questions to ask

Money and dice on scales

Dice and Money on Scales image by Images Money

Costing up your work as a freelance in multimedia, liveblogging, data journalism, community management or SEO isn’t straightforward. There’s no simple answer to ‘How much should I charge for this particular work?’ because the field isn’t standardised enough to have reliable rates.

But there are three questions you can ask yourself which can help you set a price or feel comfortable with the decision you make about taking or turning down work.

Question 1: What are your costs?

The basic cost is your time. How much time do you realistically think the work will take? And how much do you value that time, e.g. per hour? Journalism often takes more time than anticipated: contacts take more chasing; case studies fall through. Editors ask for new versions.

Travel is another cost, and accommodation and food for some work too. It may be worth negotiating on these costs separately, rather than including it in the fee, so the two can be distinguished.

Then there are equipment costs if you are working in multimedia. These are generally not specific to the project so shouldn’t have a big impact – but they do have an impact on question 3 below.

Question 2: What value does the work add to you?

How much value do you get from the work, for example:

  • Will it add to your CV in areas that it lacks (rather than areas you already have)?
  • Will it build your reputation?
  • Does it give you an opportunity to learn new skills that you couldn’t learn otherwise?
  • Does it give you an opportunity to meet people or gain access to places you wouldn’t otherwise – and what will add value to you in some way?

Question 3: What supply and demand exists for your skills?

Like any market, prices in journalism are significantly shaped by supply and demand.

For example, if there are very few people offering the skills that you have, and – crucially – a lot of clients demanding your skills, then you can ask for more.

 

Multimedia is one area where an investment in equipment can narrow the pool of those able to offer similar services - but not always.

It should be a judgement based on experience, not ego. You may think your skills are valuable, but if you’re not getting a lot of approaches for work then the demand is not there at this time. But if you’re getting more offers than you have time to do, then try increasing your price.

If the market is flooded by people with particular skills, prices drop. This is why freelance print journalism is so poorly paid: work that might take you two weeks to produce might only command £100, or £50, or zero, because there are enough people competing to do it for that price.

But it’s worth remembering that they might be competing to do it for that price because they a) think it will take them less time than you (rightly or wrongly); and/or b) get more value from the work than you. In other words, they have different answers to questions 1 and 2 above.

Upping the price: gathering an evidence base

One of the reasons why you may be offered less money than you expect is because publishers often don’t know the value of content themselves. Liveblogging, multimedia, and other new formats are still establishing their worth, while journalism as a whole continues to depreciate.

So collect evidence on effectiveness and make a case for the value your work has.

For example, liveblogging is known to drive traffic; there is evidence that data journalism tends to have much higher dwell times than other journalism. Multimedia generates higher engagement metrics. Good community management can increase conversion rates.

video-viewing-length-by-device-2012-ooyala

Showing the value of longform video – image from Ooyala 2012 end of year index report

 

Simple tools like bit.ly allow you to measure things like clickthrough on links; asking for analytics from employers – or even negotiating extra payments based on performance can encourage clients to look at metrics they might otherwise be ignorant of.

Do you have any other factors you consider when pricing up work? 

Crowdfunding: what are you paying for?

Few examples illustrate the complexities of crowdfunding better than Shane Bauer‘s Beacon page to crowdfund $75,000 for a year-long investigation into US prisons. It includes a number of options for “backing” Bauer (a usefully generic term) which fall into 3 broad categories and are worth learning from:

1. Are you paying for content?

crowdfunding subscriptions on Beacon

The most obvious thing to charge for in a crowdfunding operation is content. And so, the most basic options in Bauer’s project (and in most Beacon projects) are subscriptions: monthly, six-monthly, and annual. Continue reading

FAQ: Hyperlocal sustainability

The latest in the series of Frequently Asked Questions comes from a UK student, who has questions about hyperlocal blogging.

In the long term, how sustainable is a hyperlocal site economically?

It depends on the business model, the wider market, and the individuals involved in the business. Continue reading

Is Facebook Advertising charging more to ‘mugged profiles’?

Are Facebook quoting different prices for the same ad based on your profile? Guest contributor Desi Velikova thinks so. In a cross-post from her own blog, she writes how the same ad campaign would have cost her employer 8 times more depending on which user account it was purchased from.

Continue reading

Live Blogs outperform other online news formats by up to 300%

 

Time Spent on Live Blogs

Comparison of time spent on a selection of Live Blogs, articles, and picture galleries at Guardian.co.uk, March to May 2011

In a guest post for OJB, Neil Thurman highlights a new research report that suggests that Live Blogs outperform other online news formats by up to 300% and are seen by readers as more transparent, trusted, and ‘factual’ than conventional online news stories.

Continue reading

Stop attacking ‘web-first’ as if the world is going to stand still

The Hangover

The Hangover – a film from 2009 as well as a term which, coincidentally, can be used as a metaphor for the fact that we’re still talking about the same things now

This week feels very much like 2009. That year I published a post titled ‘How the web changed the economics of news‘, a brief overview of some of the economic factors impacting on publishing which has recently experienced a resurgence of interest thanks to a Kingston University tutor whose students have been asked to review it. Their posts have been illuminating: not much, it seems, has changed since 2009. Many still think journalism is a high priesthood which will continue to thrive.

Meanwhile, Editor and Publisher’s Kristina Ackermann argues in an editorial that “digital first wasn’t enough to keep [Journal Register Co] from sinking back into bankruptcy” because digital didn’t make as much profit as print and, therefore, it should be abandoned. The NUJ New Media blog piles in with “This has never been a strategy for increasing profitability, but rather a strategy for slashing costs.”

*Sigh.* Continue reading