Guardian Media Group Plc. bought ContentNext Media Inc., the parent of digital media blog PaidContent.org for about $30 million (Rs128 crore). That’s certainly a lot of change for a blog. But, a closer look at PaidContent shows how smart blog entrepreneurs have brought media buyers into the fold, created multiple revenue streams and provided more than just content.
PaidContent’s online advertising is without doubt its bread and butter. The site, which attempts to be the must-read source for digital media pros, brings in some 215,000 unique users a month, according to Compete. And online advertising has fat margins. But, there are many blogs with larger reservoirs of traffic that aren’t attracting buyers. Why’s that? Blogs are a difficult business to value. They present a lot of risk with little information on future growth potential. Prominent bloggers have too much of the company tied up in their own names.
Smart blog entrepreneurs have found a way around that. PaidContent’s Rafat Ali, who started it six years ago, diversified the blog and gave it multiple revenue streams. PaidContent hosted 15 conferences last year and the site sells research reports on top of that.
Blogs have a long way to go before they can expect big media buyers to come swooping in with cash in hand. Most of them are too dependent on the vision of one person and the cyclical advertising industry. But PaidContent may have just shown that the path to getting paid is actually away from basic online content.