The amount of content I absorb on a daily basis is ridiculous. It isn’t a new phenomenon. At one point, I probably subscribed to over 25 magazines a month, not including the indulgent People magazine I’d read while having a pedicure. Cocktail party fodder. That fodder is probably why my investment portfolio is all over the place.
I still get magazines, but not as many. Yet, there is still something extremely satisfying about flipping through a magazine, pulling out interesting information, going online to check it out, and making a note to self.
My first investment was in content, so not shocking. Curbed made money from advertising and events. That is still the main source of revenue for content providers. I noticed that Vox is now pushing $5 a month on Curbed to have access to all their content. I wonder how many people clicked on that?
There is no doubt that content will always be king but can there be other revenue models besides advertising to keep publications or people afloat? We are seeing many companies aggregate blog writers with turnkey solutions for their site. Some are even paying the most read authors the opportunities to join. We are also watching known people jump ship from their publishers and go on their own with newsletters charging an annual fee. The same model goes for podcasts, which is just a different form of content.
I know how hard it is to write something every day. I pared down to M-F a few years ago. There have been times when I wonder if I have any content left in me. But of course, if you keep the mind at work, then there is always something in there to write about.
There will always be a new Substack or now Clubhouse but garnering an audience over time while paying the bills with that content is tough.
As we move into the hope of more paid content, including places like the NY Times, Washington Post, and WSJ, will people be willing to pay enough that they won’t need advertising? I doubt it, but perhaps as people realize that it is worth paying an annual fee for the content they want to read or hear that there can be a blended business model that might work….or not.