Digital Publishing Reader Revenue Top Stories
9 mins read

231 ways publishers can make media pay

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Proven revenue ideas for publishers, both large and small

COVID-19 has reinforced the need for publishers to diversify their revenue sources. With advertising proving to be both a problematic, and an unreliable income stream, for many outlets right now, the race is on to find other ways to make media pay.

Last year, in a free report, we set out 50 techniques being used by a range of different companies. This was followed by two deep dives (also free!) into the emerging field of eCommerce

Inspired by a 2014 list of 76 ways to make money from digital, produced by the Editor at Large of Business Insider David Plotz, during his tenure as Editor in Chief at Slate, and this 2015 list of 52 ideas by Josh Stearns, Director, Public Square Program at the Democracy Fund, I’ve been intending to come up with a more expanded list of potential revenue streams for a while. 

Below I’ve compiled 231 hyperlinked ideas cutting across areas such as: Advertising and Sponsorship, Content, Business Models, Philanthropy and Memberships, as well as Partnerships and eCommerce. 

You may disagree with some of the ways that I have grouped these ideas, and not all of them will work for you, but hopefully you will agree that this list shows that there’s lots of great examples to learn from out there. 

Right, let’s get cracking!


Advertising Products

Advertising free

Events (tickets and sponsorship)


Subscriptions and Digital Paywalls 


Premium Content

Business Models / Biz Dev / Other

Business Models

Services + Spin-off Businesses

Partnerships with Platforms 




  • Sell your subscriber data 
  • Sell your email lists 
  • Lead generation e.g. White Papers for third party
  • Lead generation – upsell to your own products e.g., GWI research docs.
  • Audience insights for Product DevelopmentBuzzFeed
  • Audience insights for partnershipsPOPSUGAR at Kohl’s (apparel range)
  • Market Data plus access to content – Bloomberg, Reuters

eCommerce / Retail

What ideas have I missed? Drop me an email or hit me up on Twitter @damianradcliffe and let me know!