Cover Story: The Search for Profitable Publishing
Recently, he says, Consumer Reports offered an application for smart phones for free buying advice. "But [now we're going to be offering more on the paid-content model]. We offer a mobile version of ConsumerReports.org. We're also looking at potential car-shopping applications, and consumer electronics and home products, which are core to ConsumerReports.org. We also have been constantly developing digital platforms for e-readers, like the Kindle," he says. "We're trying to be as relevant as we can in the marketplace."
"I think the interesting thing about revenue is that we want a sure hit [with a new venture] …," says Sabatier. "We want to make sure … that we don't lose money on it; and [not losing money] might happen in a custom-publishing situation (where you price that out the gate, where you don't go forward if your profit margin isn't in there) or when you do one-shots or one-offs in print—but other than that, there is some risk involved," she says.
"So, when you're looking at diversifying revenue or getting another income stream coming in … you need to ask yourself, 'What is my tolerance for failure? Can I afford to fail or not make the mark?' Part of where you go is what your risk tolerance is."
Sometimes it's as simple as cash flow, but Sabatier also suggests considering, "Can I take a hit if this doesn't work, but I will learn from moving forward rather than being paralyzed or going down in flames because I still only rely on advertising—that's your balance."