In a Tough Ad Climate, Small Publishers are Finding Success in Small Donations
Digital advertising is competitive and the subscription business is tough, but digital publishers are finding hope in small-dollar donations.
This month, LAist and DCist, Los Angeles- and Washington-focused local news sites once owned by DNAinfo, will each launch Kickstarter campaigns. They’re hoping to mirror the success of their sister site Gothamist, which more than doubled its $100,000 fundraising goal through a Kickstarter campaign that ended May 4. The donations are meant to set both sites on a new course, where donations, rather than advertising, represent their largest stream of revenue.
“The advertising model that DNA[info] was trying to develop really struggled in terms of gaining the kind of scale digital publishers need to have,” said Bill Davis, the president of Southern California Public Radio, which now owns LAist. “The way we think it can be sustainable is not primarily advertising, but [with a revenue model] that starts with contributions from the audience.”