Matt says publishers ask, “Where’s the revenue model?”: My answer: the same place it has always been. Matt McAlister has been blogging from the Syndicate conference and has a great post regarding the push-back cliche media people use to dismiss the freight train heading straight at them: “Where’s the business model?” Apparently, I’ve missed something because I can think of several billions of dollars of content that is “given away” by media companies each year as part of system that is recognized (at least the last time I checked) as a solid business model. And I’ll even skip the obvious broadcast TV model.
Let’s take, for example, the business-to-business publishing arena. While there are many subscription-based print magazines in the B-to-B world, the concept of a “controlled-circulation” magazine (translation: free) is an integral part of a well-tested, successful business model. In addition to advertising revenue, publishers of “free” magazines have learned how to “leverage” their print brand (and all of that free content) to derive revenues from a wide array of sources: conferences, trade shows, databases of statistical data, industry research, books, training material, (did I mention custom publishing?), etc.
I’m still perplexed when someone who heads a company that gives away magazines (and believe me, the printing, paper and distribution costs of a magazine aren’t free) can’t grasp the notion of how to make money giving away something for free.