Skip to main content

Media organizations around the globe are focused on adapting their revenue models to be less dependent on advertising and more resilient over all.  Publishing Executive, a subsidiary of Adweek, surveyed more than one hundred media executives to find out how they are making this shift, determining priorities, and adapting during a chaotic year. 

In “Combined Revenue Models Gaining Traction in Media Industry,” you’ll find information on media companies’ current and target revenue breakdowns, the factors influencing their pivot to subscription models, publishers’ perceptions of Big Tech, and how they plan to overcome the challenges associated with establishing new sources of revenue.


Key takeaways from the report

The revenue models of yesterday must evolve for success tomorrow

Advertising dollars have fueled media organizations for decades, and this income stream is still a significant source of revenue for most publishers today. However, revenue models based solely on advertising have lost steam in recent years due to increasing volumes of online content flooding the market, and competition from low cost platforms such Facebook and Google. Throw a global pandemic into the mix, and you’ve got a perfect storm.

Fortunately, publishers have proven that high quality content wins loyal audiences. Growing numbers of consumers are willing to pay for content, which highlights an opportunity for publishers to transition to revenue models that combine advertising and subscriptions. Our new Adweek report reveals just how many publishers currently use this model, and to what extent they’re aiming to increase their subscription revenue shares.

Why publishers are moving to subscription models

The report also digs into why media companies have landed on subscriptions, specifically, as a solution to their revenue challenges. Subscriptions offer a way for publishers to build relationships with their audiences and deliver personalized content, but more significantly, they enable publishers to collect and use first-party data to attract advertisers.

When it comes to the shift toward first-party data, the train is leaving the station, and publishers and advertisers alike must hop aboard and prepare for the end of cookies. Leveraging subscription models to gather rich first-party data and drive advertising sales as a result is a wise move for all media organizations to consider.

How publishers view walled gardens

For the past few years, the conversation about whether publishers should compete or collaborate with Big Tech has been a hot topic in the media industry. This Adweek report reveals how publishers view walled gardens such as Facebook and Google today, and the percentage of media organizations that consider Big Tech a threat to their bottom lines.

The report also considers whether walled gardens will continue to put pressure on publishers’ advertising revenue streams, driving more media companies to explore subscription models.

How media organizations can overcome revenue roadblocks

Although publishers have a strong desire to shift to combined revenue models, the road to this promised land is anything but smooth. This Adweek report uncovers the degree to which media organizations understand the challenges they face, and what those bumps in the road look like (hint: disorganized databases are on the list).

The report also examines how publishers can get past these obstacles by fostering greater internal collaboration to increase the effectiveness of their data and their ability to use it to attract advertising dollars. It also explores what role technology solutions and partners can play in this new future.

Behind the scenes: how the report was created

As a publisher, you can count on Lineup to bring you the most up-to-date industry news and research. Early this year, we commissioned this report to better understand growing trends within the ever-evolving media landscape. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, we pivoted our approach to the report to include data on how the public health crisis has further accelerated significant changes within publishing.

Adweek conducted an online survey of publishers using the subscriber database of Publishing Executive. Over 100 publishing executives from companies with a minimum of $1 million in annual revenue completed the survey, which revealed valuable and current industry insights, including:

  • Publishers’ current breakdown of subscription revenue vs. advertising revenue 
  • The degree to which the industry is moving towards subscription-based or advertising-based revenue models 
  • Why publishers are or aren’t shifting revenue models 
  • Challenges publishers are facing in shifting revenue models 
  • The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on publishers’ revenue models

Lineup Systems is the world's leading provider of media sales technology, representing over 6,800 media brands globally, including Gannett/USA Today, New York Times and News Corp. Amplio is Lineup's multi- channel audience monetization solution that helps media companies realize their full reader revenue potential, using data-driven intelligence to engage, nurture and monetize readers with personalized offers that increase reader revenue and reduce churn. Adpoint is Lineup's end-to-end multi-channel media advertising sales solution that helps media companies streamline operations, make better use of data, increase efficiency and boost revenue.