The news that Salon.com is looking for a possible partner, “Who Wants to Buy Salon.com? Anyone?” raises some interesting points about online media’s business, namely:
- It’s not only print media that can generate million-dollar annual losses. Salon has lost $15 million over the last five years, including an estimated $5 million in 2010.
- Driven by the need to generate the revenues necessary to sustain a journalistic operation, Salon is shifting its coverage from politics and news to softer, shorter lifestyle coverage. The problem: we already have a lot of sources for lifestyle news while we have fewer sources for traditional news coverage.
- Standalone media properties can’t hope to compete against media conglomerates — even today. That’s the lesson, too, to be drawn from the recent Newsweek-Daily Beast merger.
On the other hand, the FT recently scored a success with its iPad app subscription, “Financial Times iPad app scores success: Paper increasing its digital-only subscription base at a rate of about 500 a week, with strong growth in US,” according its competitor, The Guardian. But while that’s good news, it’s still not self-sustaining.
One thing for sure, 2011 will continue to see pressure on traditional and online media.