Hubspot’s Digital Publishing Benchmarks Report Snapshot: Monetization indicates that most publishers can’t make it by only charging for content, and a large number expect to obtain revenue from advertising, but not necessarily display ads.
According to their data, just 10.9% of publishers cited subscriptions as their largest source of income. Although a number of businesses do offer subscriptions, the majority have to make ends meet by obtaining revenue from things like events, advertising, eCommerce and webinars. This may be in part because less than a quarter of publishers don’t offer free content of some kind, so people have come to expect web content to be free.
Revenue stream publishers were also asked about where they expected to see more and less money in the next six months, and some of the results were interesting. Pretty much everyone expects that native advertising and video ads are going to be a big money maker, and most said that print was dying, so no real surprises there. However, results were basically split when it came to revenue from display advertising, and a significant number said that they expected to do well with events.
Whether or not publishers are correct about their expectations, the survey shows where publishers are likely to look for revenue. It appears that content producers are going to be giving up on paid subscriptions and trying to throw in more sponsored and native content. What remains to be seen is how publishers will deal with their feelings about display ads profitability and if it will mean we’ll see less of them.