“We buy balloons and a helium tank,” explained the editor-in-chief of the local newspaper Oktyabrsky Vestnik at a Russian media conference. “We inflate some balloons and sell them at local festivals. It doesn’t bring in huge revenues, but it’s fairly profitable.” Several editors in the room were unable to conceal their amusement at the speaker’s suggestion, as if they don’t do similar things to pad their own profit margins. In reality, what they do is often much less amusing.
News has practically ceased to be a stand-alone product. The old business model is becoming less and less sustainable, and publishers are trying to find alternative sources of revenue. Few of them recognize that such alternatives are, at the very least, evidence of the end of an era, if not the very reason for the…
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