Music magazine Paste asked readers to help it out of its money troubles. The print magazine needed $300,000. After ten days it collected $175,000 in reader donations.
Some public broadcasting radio and TV stations raise money through donations. This mainly happens in the US but the idea is starting to take root elsewhere.
Can this model work for print publications?
The answer is, in a way it already does. Print magazines earn revenue from copy and subscription sales. If there’s less advertising, the cover price is higher.
Many publications already carry no advertising, or very little. They make almost all their money from copy or subscription payments.
New Zealand’s Consumer Institute magazine Consumer doesn’t carry advertising. The same applies to Choice in Australia and similar titles elsewhere in the world.
This means the magazine’s readers know its articles are written without any pressure from advertisers.
It can a good business model for publishers. Subscription revenue is a more reliable income source than advertising. Better still from the publisher point of view, you get it before paying for publishing costs. Advertisers often pay a long time after a magazine goes to print. I think we’ll see more subscription-driven print titles in the future. And more titles that rely on reader donations.
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