3. Sell Products: The Four Best Alternative Revenue Streams for Media Sites


This post is part of our series on the four best alternative revenue streams for media platforms. The follow up article is a look at The Sale of Expertise as a revenue method. Be sure download our free white paper The Four Key Alternate Revenue Streams for Content Platforms for further insights.

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Sell Products Wisely and Develop your Business

What can you do when your current revenue source is not generating enough income by itself? Sell something additional.

If you have a media platform that’s up and running with a loyal audience, expanding your offering with product sales or payable content is not as drastic or far-fetched as you may think.


If you’re a media site, subscriptions are a worthy venture. Monthly and annual subscriptions are a stable way to generate recurring revenue with predictability that also increases your audience retention rates. Once a user has paid for access they are likely to return to make full use of their investment. However, the notoriously low conversion rate between non-paying to paying users makes this a daunting task.

The Four Key Alternate Revenue Streams for Content Platforms
The Four Key Alternate Revenue Streams for Content Platforms
May 2017
Download White Paper

Individual Donations:

Next, there’s individual giving, which basically means soliciting donations to you platform, normally through one of the plethora of crowdfunding platforms that have cropped up online. This is a viable revenue stream for multiple types of media platforms but works best for content platforms that that fulfill a philanthropic mission or initiatives that have developed a very enthusiastic online following.

Lead Generation:

There also is lead generation which consists of gathering consumer data that you can then target to spark interest in your platform’s products or services; putting them on the path to eventually buying. This works best for e-commerce media sites and B2B blogs.


Finally, you have e-commerce, which has become a significant revenue source predominantly for online magazines as it diversifies their revenue sources in an easy yet rewarding way. Content platforms as different as fashion site Refinery29 and Monocle’s online magazine have benefitted from e-commerce.

Multimedia content powerhouse BuzzFeed has also benefitted from the e-commerce model in a creative way, creating listicles that link its captive audience to external products for purchase, which the site then collects a sales-percentage on. This works for BuzzFeed because it’s able to create value around these products through its content.

Whether it’s recommended products or subscriptions to exclusive content, you will require an equally deep understanding of your users’ needs, interests and what they are willing to pay for to make this revenue stream work for your platform.

If you want to learn more about the different revenue streams, download our free white paper here.

Maya Khourchid

An energetic and award-winning copywriter and conceptualiser, with a strong background in journalism, editorial writing, content creation and consultancy. Her writing has appeared in regional and international publications from Courier International to CNN.com, while her creative work has been recognized by the Cannes Lions, D&AD, New York Festivals, Dubai Lynx and many more.
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