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In our findings the business models of the cases fall into two main categories: those which have storytelling-orientated business models and those which rely on a more service-orientated model.

The sites whose business model is based around storytelling are still prevalent in our findings. These sites focus on making money from producing original content, news and stories, for audiences. The difference to the mass media model is that in the online world the target audience is smaller. Online journalism relies heavily on niche audiences built around targeted themes such as hobbies, neighborhoods or psychographic tendencies. In this niche journalism there is a tight triangulation between journalistic content and advertised products.

The other group, service-oriented business models, seems to be growing. This group consists of sites that don’t try to monetize the journalistic content as such. For example citizen journalism sites are more like platforms that curate and moderate citizen-oriented content, or news aggregators compile stories form other outlets. Some startups have specialized in selling technology, information, training or diversifying to redefine what it means to do news.

New research: The SuBMoJour study maps sustainable journalistic startups in nine countries. It includes an online database detailing the business models of these entrepreneurial sites.
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In our findings the business models of the cases fall into two main categories: those which have storytelling-orientated business models and those which rely on a more service-orientated model.

The sites whose business model is based around storytelling are still prevalent in our findings. These sites focus on making money from producing original content, news and stories, for audiences. The difference to the mass media model is that in the online world the target audience is smaller. Online journalism relies heavily on niche audiences built around targeted themes such as hobbies, neighborhoods or psychographic tendencies. In this niche journalism there is a tight triangulation between journalistic content and advertised products.

The other group, service-oriented business models, seems to be growing. This group consists of sites that don’t try to monetize the journalistic content as such. For example citizen journalism sites are more like platforms that curate and moderate citizen-oriented content, or news aggregators compile stories form other outlets. Some startups have specialized in selling technology, information, training or diversifying to redefine what it means to do news.

New research: The SuBMoJour study maps sustainable journalistic startups in nine countries. It includes an online database detailing the business models of these entrepreneurial sites.

In Finnish newspapers, there are several examples of large convergence projects. The large companies have the most resources. The ability to resolve technological issues – whether they are hardware- or software-related – seems to divide the newspapers researched in this study. The larger companies usually have more technological resources of their own. National and regional dailies have more innovations and converged solutions and practices than the local ones; the innovativeness of local dailies depends a lot on the personal interest of owners and managers. Many of the local dailies are very passive on the Internet, showing only contact information or other static text, while the most active ones have launched news feeds, e-papers, blogs, etcetera.

Media Convergence and Business Models: Responses of Finnish Daily Newspapers – Katja Lehtisaari, Kari Karppinen, Timo Harjuniemi, Mikko Grönlund, Carl-Gustav Lindén, Hannu Nieminen and Anna Viljakainen

In Finnish newspapers, there are several examples of large convergence projects. The large companies have the most resources. The ability to resolve technological issues – whether they are hardware- or software-related – seems to divide the newspapers researched in this study. The larger companies usually have more technological resources of their own. National and regional dailies have more innovations and converged solutions and practices than the local ones; the innovativeness of local dailies depends a lot on the personal interest of owners and managers. Many of the local dailies are very passive on the Internet, showing only contact information or other static text, while the most active ones have launched news feeds, e-papers, blogs, etcetera.

Media Convergence and Business Models: Responses of Finnish Daily Newspapers – Katja Lehtisaari, Kari Karppinen, Timo Harjuniemi, Mikko Grönlund, Carl-Gustav Lindén, Hannu Nieminen and Anna Viljakainen

[Originally published here on the WITNESS Hub Blog.]

The falling price of digital technology and the capacity to distribute information rapidly have created the conditions for millions of people to record and exchange moving images. […]  … a new theatre of public information has emerged, a loosely connected mass of video creation and exchange.  This activity is being driven by personal initiatives, collective endeavours and institutional interventions.  It includes aspiring professional film makers and amateur vloggers alike.  This is a realm populated by people who are attracted by the idea that video has a unique power to communicate.  It is here where we see opinions, thoughts and feelings turned into video, by people, for other people. […] The Video Republic is situated in the places where people’s opinions and feelings are made public via the language of the moving image.

So say Celia Hannon, Peter Bradwell and Charlie Tims of UK thinktank Demos in their new report Video Republic (Demos, like WITNESS, is a partner in James Nachtwey’s initiative to raise awareness and debate on extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR-TB.)

The report looks at the rise of video as a new and vibrant public space, an alternative channel for self-expression, and increasingly, an alternative means of public deliberation.  Although the authors identify three areas where the Video Republic takes place – television, online video-sharing and public screenings – they focus mainly on the newest area of the three, online.  (Notably, they don’t really look at mobile video at all.)  They’re particularly interested in how video promotes social inclusion (including a video-postcard project on migration and identity run by the very first person I worked for, Marion Vargaftig), and in how the confluence of cheaper technology and more widespread broadband has enabled content that was not possible before.  They end, however, with a warning that the window for truly opening out participation and ownership is not going to be here forever:

It is possible that the redistribution of power currently taking place in the Video Republic will only last for a brief moment of time.

Video Republic is focused on online video-sharing among youth on a local level in Europe (specifically the UK, Turkey, Germany, Romania and Finland), and so doesn’t include or reference many international initiatives like Video 24/7 or the Hub, but they extract lessons for anyone working with video and inclusion anywhere, many of which are at the heart of why we built the Hub.  You can read the full report here, and I run through the main findings as they relate to our work below.  Before you read either, though, watch Demos’ intro video below:

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