Case Study: Journalism.co.uk (UK)

The name of the publication and / or company

Journalism.co.uk

Established

1999

Web Address

Journalism.co.uk

Form of the company

Ltd.

Describe your site or business in few words.

Journalism.co.uk is a digital B2B website serving journalists and media professionals. It offers news services about industry movers and shakers, directories and advice/panels. The business, Mousetrap Media, now also runs news:rewired events as a spin-off from the website, which are a key part of the brand.

It competes and is complemented by Holdthefrontpage.co.uk, Media Guardian, and the Press Gazette. There was ‘nothing very clever’ about the idea but it does well from recruitment advertising in journalism because it targeted a niche and brought that together. Even Media Guardian offered journalism jobs mixed in with marketing and PR. ‘That was the big idea. The editorial is key to me. This is not just about making money. Business ethos is about how do we support the editorial. It has been a long hard struggle.’

The idea started because I was into a rut freelancing, sub editing, and I wanted to break out of the feeling that there was a fixed day rate to my work; and I was getting bored. I gravitated to B2B magazines because they were profitable and paid well and one thing they were doing was supplements. I was a layout sub so I thought I could get business where I could pitch to outsource that to Mousetrap Media. I could also see the mix in other publications and thought it would be useful to filter that. Then that did not work, it was not the right kind of traffic. With a colleague of mine from college, we started discussing what might be happening in the industry and started a newsletter about it, we thought online was going to be interesting. So we started a monthly news letter with six stories. It has grown from the grassroots.

Staff numbers

Who’s creating the content

Content creators, paid full-time

3 – two journalists and one sub editor (trainee level)

Content creators, paid half time

1 – developer, paid on a project by project basis

Content creators, paid freelancers

1 – about 50% of the time

How is your time divided between doing business and content?

100% business. I should come to work with a big hose and a firefighters uniform, as most of the time I am wrestling with technology or shielding from technical problems. It is not my skill base. I have had to learn about it and coding, html, didn’t want to but had to happen.

Business, marketing & sales, paid full-time

5 (including the publisher/owner)

How they make money

Revenue models and sustainability

Would you say your business model is sustainable?

Absolutely; it has been running since 1999 but I haven’t floated the company so I don’t have to answer to share holders. My needs in terms of takings out of the company are modest – I am not especially aspirational so all ok. Quite a modest lifestyle but I have it where I want. I would describe it as a lifestyle business.

How much is your yearly or monthly revenue?

299,000 in 2010 and 340,000 in 2011

Where does your revenue go?

Wages, business premises, tech. The biggest investment was last year in a rebrand because we wanted it to last for a while, and put up the new content management system.

How much do you pay to your contributors?

Yearly salaries and then developers project by project, a trainee sub editor and a freelancer

What about profit?

More writers and on editorial wages

What kind of advertising you sell?

Cost Per Impression (CPM), Job Boards or Classifieds

Do you sell any of following services

Freelancing – journalism, Training, Consulting, Speaking, Events

Do you see your publication as your main product?

The website is the main product followed closely by the events. The following are listed in the proportional priority they are to the business model in terms of revenue generation, starting with the most lucrative:

1. Top for money making is the job listings and classified adverts. It is charged at £130+ vat per vacancy and discount packages available can buy bundles
2. Events: news: rewired £130 per ticket and from sponsorship. This is the one event when you can get involved in direct/intellectual crafting of this event and leads to direct revenue/ running the event: we do it for commercial reasons. In this way the editorial is funding revenue. Ad sales can sell around that. Commercial conversations start in editorial and then get passed over and vice versa. If the business was going on it would be the events that I would rescue. Events that adds value to a business, editorial business especially.
3. Press release distribution service £40. Relatively recent 2 years ago. Potential growth area because of amount of people who have an interest wanting to get messages out to journos
4. Display advertising Sold on tenure model calculated on page view traffic list price is much lower than used to be £5 per thousand views. Most people have a budget they just want to spend fixed amount and want to be in a place. so we calculate costs and traffic.
5. Editorial courses and training. Revenue share agreement. Trainer comes to us how about doing this course and this is what overheads going to be and we usually let them decide what the price will be. 2/3 for them 1/3 for us. No risk for us as we can cancel.
6. Freelancers database (get a cut?) simple they pay £50 per year listing and they get a page. Pics etc.

What would be the most important thing on your road to sustainability?

Continued development of the editorial brand.