The Economist’s Tom Standage on digital strategy and the limits of a model based on advertising

Click bait title but not that interesting in context.  They expect ads to go away so they’re going to bundle sponsorship opportunities together with ads? Been done before and not innovative:

The Economist has taken the view that advertising is nice, and we’ll certainly take money where we can get it, but we’re pretty much expecting it to go away.

So we’re switching toward what we call thought leadership, which is we sell sponsorship of conferences, with white papers, with online advertising as well. But essentially it’s not straightforward display advertising. It allows advertisers to associate themselves with particular topic areas, or raise their profiles in particular areas. And it’s not native advertising either, because the crucial thing for me is that we’re not serving this out of our editorial CMS. For me, that’s the line that we won’t cross. When the ads are coming out of the same CMS as the editorial, which is one definition of native advertising — we won’t do that.

So a majority of our revenue comes from subscriptions, and always has. The proportion of revenue that’s coming from subscriptions is going up, and will probably continue to go up. So I’m very very happy that that’s our business model, because I think that’s sustainable. People do seem willing to pay for our journalism, and our digital subscriber numbers are going up very nicely.

via The Economist’s Tom Standage on digital strategy and the limits of a model based on advertising » Nieman Journalism Lab.