Case study: Women’s Views On News (UK)

The name of the publication and / or company

Women’s Views On News

Established

March 2010

Web Address

www.womensviewsonnews.org

Form of the company

Ltd company by guarantee (personal to the registered keeper; other option was as community interest)

Describe your site or business in few words.

It was set up to counter the bias of men in the media. A snapshot across the world in the media would show about 25% are about women in their subject and very few used as experts and interview subjects. Many news editors are men so they filter the news through their lens, and have a view as to what is interesting. We cover a lot from the UN which you just don’t see in the mainstream press. It is about giving a voice to women and the things that matter to them.

Staff numbers

Who’s creating the content

Content creators, unpaid

66

Are some of the content creators citizen contributors or interns?

“No one is paid at all. I had a vision of women from around the world, filing their copy through me. It wasn’t feasible at first and I didn’t have any money. So we scour the net and find other stories that have already been written and we just provide a summary. We are aggregating with an editorial, filtering level on top.”

“There is the editor and 65 active contributors (volunteering) many of whom want the experience of writing. The editor writes up a rota and each person is given a slot with three shifts a day, then there is a sub editor on duty for each shift and they are sent press releases or a summary of links and they publish from there. That way there is a regular stream of stories and it avoids duplicates.”

How is your time divided between doing business and content?

“I spend around 50 hours a week on this project with the majority being on editorial. The difficulty we have is that because I am so bogged down in this I have no time to think about income generation but because we are all doing other things and the priority is to get the stories up. So I am thinking of reducing the number of hours we post and not post on a Saturday until we have a system where we have some money.”

How they make money

Revenue models and sustainability

Would you say your business model is sustainable?

“No. It has worried me for a long time. We talk about it endlessly.  In terms of unique visitors there are about 42, 630 a month, and page views 74,966 a month. Absolute unique 32,000. We did get a Trust Fund, twice (The Lipman-Miliband Trust Fund – they are overtly socialist. £1,000 each time July 2010 and then July 2011 and both were to redesign the site). Because we are not geographically specific and/or because we don’t have a theme eg violence against women we don’t fall into the categories for most funding. There seems to be no funding in the UK for feminist media. Most people look at the site and won’t touch it with a barge poll because we are opinionated.”

How much is your yearly or monthly revenue?

£1,200 a year (1900 USD)

Where does your revenue go?

The running costs. Server is about £20 a month and website designer is about £50 a month, and then staff would cost if they were being paid.

What about profit?

“Each time we have redesigned we have improved. If we had more money I need payment for half the time I do and then I would pay the other subs. My priority would be paying the subs and then I could ask for better subbing because I would be paying and then there would be better quality. I would keep the volunteers unpaid as it is a good platform but I would pay them expenses.”

What kind of advertising you sell?

Two adverts for donations to charities, and no one had clicked through.

Do you see your publication as your main product?

Yes.

What would be the most important thing on your road to sustainability or not being sustainable?

“We are too passive at the minute. What we need to do is be more determined. We need to be pinpointing and really pursuing advertisers or ideas. Instead we make a half-hearted effort and then back off. I think I need to take a step back and be more committed. I am far too bogged down in the day-to-day. No one has had the time to offer writing up resources or training because everyone is pushed for time.

Marketing teams also think we should look for advertising from ethical companies that we would want to advertise with us. Santander wanted a banner headline but puritanically we said no because I felt we would lose our core readership. we did do a survey earlier in the year and some people said they wouldn’t mind but they liked it at the moment because it was an “oasis” away from advertising. There are other feminist news sites with ghastly adverts. “