In the early days of the Internet, digital content should be available free of charge, but now there is an increasing willingness to pay. Guest author Dominik Sedlmeier from El Clasico Media shows which trends in digital monetization are the most promising. Today fans pay for their favorite podcast via money pool, and readers pay for their digital newspaper subscription.
Whether additional services, exclusive content or just goodwill – the possibilities for monetizing content are diverse. But which ones are lucrative in practice? And where is the monetization trend going? The awareness in our society that digital content is mostly available free of charge also leads to an increasing understanding that this content has to be refinanced.
Monetize Content Through Voluntary Donations
Honesty and transparency can prove particularly useful for individuals who, for example, run a weekly podcast and have a large audience. Suppose they communicate openly and honestly that they are not paid for running a podcast but are dependent on financial support from others. In that case, some loyal fans will probably be willing to support the podcast with a small donation. With a money pool, listeners can freely choose both the amount and the time of their contribution.
The trust that is thus given to the audience does not create a feeling of compulsion or obligations for them. Depending on the possibility, they donate for the digital content they are currently receiving, and the amount is free. This openness – on the one hand through honest communication on the part of the operator, on the other hand through the informality for listeners – is a voluntary basis here. Especially when creators have many viewers, readers, or listeners, then even small amounts can pay off in total and offer media owners financial security. However, donations are neither predictable nor long-term. Accordingly, relying exclusively on voluntary contributions for monetization is not advisable, as there can be no guarantee.
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Digital Content: Rely On Paywall?
The monetization of digital content does not have to be done exclusively on a donation basis. Platforms such as Patreon provide opportunities to make content available in subscription models. To give recipients a certain amount of decision-making power, various subscription models should be offered. In this way, recipients can freely choose one of the offers. To create added value and an incentive, a more expensive subscription model can be used, for example, to contain additional content that is otherwise reserved for users.
Monetization through subscriptions has the great advantage that creators have an overview of their income and, at the same time, the monthly obligation creates certain predictability for them. Payments for digital content in subscriptions also usually turn out to be more long-term than one-off donations. A dilemma often arises for the content creator: If the content is only available behind a payment barrier, the range is reduced. Accordingly, hybrid forms can be used here, recipients can continue to consume actual content free of charge, but a subscription must be taken out for background information and additional content.
Subscription models, also in hybrid form, are particularly suitable for online magazines and newspapers. Essential articles can be freely accessible; exclusive reports or further articles on a topic are only available with a subscription. A cross-media approach can also be used here: the pieces are not behind a paywall, podcast episodes with the editors of these articles are offered exclusively by subscription.
Finance Digital Content With Advertising
In addition to the possibility of paid content, the form of advertising for monetizing digital content can still prove itself today. Apart from placing classic advertising banners on platforms, creators can also use newer and hybrid forms here. Recurring digital formats such as podcasts or online magazines are particularly interesting for companies from a sponsor’s point of view. Because they can benefit from the growing trust of the recipients through long-term cooperation with media owners.
Here, too, openness and transparency play an important role. If content creators are paid a commission for purchase via an affiliate link, this must be communicated. Are recipients aware of this because it has just been addressed openly, this can also increase their willingness to buy? They know their favorite podcast has to make money to continue to exist. To guarantee this, you agree to make your next online purchase via the affiliate link.
Mixed Forms Of Monetization Lead To Success
It is a single trend that splits into several possibilities: Transparency wins. Creators today can benefit from awareness in society. And an honest address increases the understanding of recipients. In practice, mixed forms of monetizing digital content usually prove to be successful. Voluntary donations are too short-term to rely on entirely, and subscription models could limit the range. It is essential to find a hybrid form suitable for the respective content, which can bring advantages for both parties involved. Exclusive content can usually be located behind a paywall without any problems; high-reach podcasts can benefit from a premier sponsor. It is the acceptance of the recipients that makes it possible.
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