International Journal of Advanced Media and Communication
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International Journal of Advanced Media and Communication (1 paper in press)
Digital media economy: Business models and financial challenges in three Indian English digital native news websites
by Aquil Khan, M. Shuaib Haneef Abstract: The internet is overloaded with free content, and its overabundance has serious implications for news media organisations as well as audience. While algorithms are being used to hyper-target individuals to economise content, media organisations are grappling with pricing models due to increased competitive market scenarios. Digital media publishers are torn between the idea of providing content free to the audience and having them pay for it via paywall. This study explored the emerging business models and challenges in three Indian English digital native news organisations through participant-observation and in-depth interviews. This study revealed that the three news websites have not been able to arrive at a sustainable business model partly due to stiff competition posed to them by the duopoly of Google and Facebook, which absorb a huge portion of the revenue generated through advertisements. Thus advertising-based revenue generation does not hold great promise for the digital native websites despite the fact that it is their content that generates exchange value when transported to platforms. The websites therefore consider paywall as the optimum business proposition that would allow them to generate revenue without interventions from platforms. Keywords: digital native news media; business model; paywall; financial challenges; crowd funding.