Turning a profit in online journalism

This week’s QUT Online Journalism lecture focused on one of the most crucial questions for online media – how to make content on the internet pay?

A few alternative arose – one of them being paid advertising on websites.  Paid advertising on websites with a large amount of traffic can come from different places.

A good example of this comes from satire newspaper website The Betoota Advocate.  Ads appear on the page for YouTube, online clothing store The Iconic, and other click bait stories designed to drag readers in.  Despite these ads not being particularly expensive, a high volume of traffic through the website can increase the profits gained off of these ads.

Ads appearing on The Betoota Advocate website

Another prominently featured way of making money from online journalism is from creating subscriber only content.  The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Courier Mail and Fox Sports News websites all employ such a method of profiting.  Readers can view a certain number of articles per month or per day, and once their limit has been reached, they must pay to view content for the rest of the month.

The Sydney Morning Herald requires readers to subscribe after a certain number of free articles


Fairfax recently came under fire for creating a paywall scheme for a regional newspaper in New South Wales.  Locals and journalists alike believe Fairfax simply implemented a one-size fits all approach for a small local newspaper which did not compare to larger newspapers in scale or distribution.

While the cost per month is small, this might also force readers to go to other free websites for their information, such as the ABC News Online service, or to user-generated content.  There is clearly a fine line between needing to make a profit without print media, and keeping readers satisfied!

Cover Photo: ABC News


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