Case Study: AgoraVox (France)

The name of the publication and / or company

AgoraVox

Established

2005

Web Address

www.agoravox.fr

Form of the company

Foundation

Describe your site or business in few words.

AgoraVox was one of the first European citizen journalism sites. Created in 2005 from an idea by Carlo Revelli and Joël de Rosnay resembling the successful South-Korean OhMyNews website, AgoraVox relies almost exclusively on users generated content. The main aim of AgoraVox is to promote the freedom of expression and information, especially on issues not so much covered by mainstream media.

Registered members are around 67,000. They are free to upload whatever kind of content they want (text, multimedia, etc). The editorial staff of AgoraVox just checks everything is all right and then publishes the stories online. No censorship is allowed. After launching two similar outlets in UK and in Italy (AgoraVox.com and AgoraVox.it), in 2008 AgoraVox.fr was incorporated as an independent, non-profit Foundation based in Belgium, to avoid the restrictions of French laws limiting its full autonomy.

Along with donations, Agoravox’s business relies mostly on advertising and, to a lesser degree, on consultancy and training projects.

AgoraVox belongs to a network of vortals (NaturaVox, CareVox, Orserie) focused on health, environment and wellness issues. Because of their commercial nature, these verticals have a different editorial staff and a different ownership structure (the French consultancy agency Cybion, whose owners are also the founders of AgoraVox). “

Staff numbers

Who’s creating the content

Content creators, paid full-time

5

Content creators, unpaid

67000

Are some of the content creators citizen contributors or interns?

“AgoraVox is a citizen journalism website. All the stories are produced and shared on a volunteer basis”

How is your time divided between doing business and content?

95% content – 5% business

Business, marketing & sales, paid full-time

1

How they make money

Revenue models and sustainability

Would you say your business model is sustainable?

Absolutely. While in 2009-10 we had to deal with the economic crisis and a consequent decrease of advertisement sales, our 2011 gross revenues jumped to about 100,000 Euro. This is due to an increase of overall audience, a clever financial management (including a staff reduction), and to readers’ donations (about 60,000 Euro just in the last few months).

How much is your yearly or monthly revenue?

300,000 Euro in 2011

Where does your revenue go?

A substantial part of our profits are used for staff salaries, while a small percentage covers travel expenses. Thanks to Cybion, we don’t have to worry about facility or telephone expenses. The servers are also provided by the Foundation free of charge.

How much do you pay to your contributors?

We do not pay contributors.

What about profit?

Our first priority would be hiring new personnel for content administration and community management. Then we would invest in new software and design features (such as a more effective platform for citizen-reporters submission and involvement).

What kind of advertising you sell?

Ad Networks, Cost Per Impression (CPM), Cost per Click (CPC), Sponsorship, Text links, RSS Advertising, Mobile ads

Do you sell any of other services?

Training, Consulting, Speaking

Other revenue sources

Donations, Crowdfunding (e.s. Spot.us)

Do you see your publication as your main product?

Agoravox.fr and Agoravox.it are our main products; since they fall under a non-profit Foundation, they cannot be utilized for revenue purposes – nor as a marketing channel.

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

Given that most of our profit comes from advertisement, our main goal is winning more audience (earning more revenue for viewed pages). Technological innovation is our second priority. We are considering a restructuring of our online community, which at the moment is a very crucial asset. Probably we should also be more responsive to the actual needs of our worldwide audience, identifying and focus even more on those events that mainstream media are unwilling or unable to cover.