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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - February 2013

Someone Has To Pay, Right? The Business Models after Print

One of the biggest problems for publishers is the culture of free, and how that completely distorts all forms of common sense. Many people are totally convinced that the true path to success is just to 'find another way to make money'.

The pure and simple fact is that it's all very straightforward. A successful business model only has to include one element, which is: "Someone has to pay." And the amount that this 'someone' pays must be equal to or above your costs.

It's really that simple.

Free means, nobody pays. So free is never a goal, nor a viable business model. Someone has to pay!

But somehow, many still argue that the solution is just to find another way to get people to pay. Suggestions range from opening up a web shop, to hosting events, and creating a consulting division next to the newspaper or magazine (for instance, when an interior design magazine also starts up a business doing interior design consultancy).

But let's put that into perspective. So in this report we are going to explore all these different suggestions of how to make money with free content. We are going to look at why they don't work, and what you need to do instead.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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