Case Study: YouReporter (Italy)

The name of the publication and / or company

YouReporter

Established

2008

Web Address

www.youreporter.it

Form of the company

LLC

Describe your site or business in few words.

YouReporter is a citizen journalism website that has become a popular destination for people interested in sharing breaking news videos or pictures. Content uploaded on YouReporter.com is often re-used by big media outlets, especially during crisis events as well as for the daily coverage of local news.

Angelo Cimarosti, founder of YouReporter, explains: “We launched YouReporter in 2008, as a purely amateur initiative. I am a broadcast journalist and I have always felt frustrated by the vast amount of videos and pictures available online (it is often impossible for reporters to find them). So, together with Stefano De Nicolo (a broadcast journalist), Luca Bauccio (a lawyer) and Alessandro Coscia (a programmer/designer) we decided to launch a citizen journalism website mainly focused on visual contributions. And this was the right insight at the right time. Around 2009 in Italy we have assisted to an explosion of mobile devices with video-recording capabilities and so our website has become a popular destination for many “citizen journalists” interested in reaching a wider audience. After a 2-year start-up period (with no business plan at all), in 2010 we decided to invest more time and money in YouReporter. That was also because managing a video-centered website means that you spend a lot of money in bandwidth, hosting etc. Presently our business model is focused on free content (accessible and re-usable by whoever is interested) subsidized by advertising. Thanks to the huge amount of monthly unique visitors (1.5 million in December 2011) we are sure that advertising alone can be enough for our sustainability.”

Staff numbers

Who’s creating the content

Content creators, paid full-time

2

Content creators, paid half time

2

Are some of the content creators citizen contributors or interns?

Since the launch more than 30000 users have shared videos and pictures on YouReporter. Most of our user-base is volatile, but we can also rely on more loyal contributors: 30% of content uploaded on YouReporter is produced by the 5% of our contributors.

How is your time divided between doing business and content?

We have completely outsourced advertising, sales and marketing operations. So we spend most of our time (90%) on content curation and community management.

How they make money

Revenue models and sustainability

Would you say your business model is sustainable?

Yes it is. We have always been careful about maintaining lean the cost of our organization (currently only two people work full-time for YouReporter). But we are sure that investing more time in our project we can make it more and more profitable. Unique visitors and page-views are rapidly increasing year by year and so it is the number and typology of ads we are now able to sell. At the same time we are also experimenting with other streams of revenue, as for example content syndication.

How much is your yearly or monthly revenue?

100,000 euros in 2011, but in 2012 we should be able to double our revenues (we count to reach 250,000 euros)

Where does your revenue go?

Most of our revenues go to web maintenance (hosting and bandwidth). Then there are taxes (that in Italy are quite high) and company management (consultants, accountants, etc).

How much do you pay to your contributors?

We do not pay our contributors.

What about profit?

In the first place we would invest extra money to consolidate our technical infrastructure: because of the growth of UGC shared on YouReporter we are always in need of more affordable servers. Then we would like to invest some money on our Content Management System, in order to automate some of the processes we currently execute manually (file conversion, uploading, etc). At the same time we would also invest on the content side. Youreporternews is the name of a new website we have recently launched in an effort to go beyond UGC aggregation. Even if it is completely based on UGC, Youreporternews will be quite different from YouReporter: we will publish only verified news, giving a wider context to contributions we get on YouReporter.

What kind of advertising you sell?

Ad Networks, Cost Per Impression (CPM), Mobile ads

What other services you sell?

Freelancing – non journalism

Do you sell following virtual or physical products?

Video, Special editions of content

Other revenue sources

Content syndication

Do you see your publication as your main product?

Yes we do. YouReporter is our main product and so it will be in the coming years.

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

Our main goals are attracting more contributions and widening our community. At the same time we are also interested in internationalizing our brand. YouReporter is quite unique in the European landscape, as we do not want to be a showcase for professional video reporters interested to sell their content. Our approach is purely a grassroots one (that is also the reason for which we have never introduced revenue-share models). Our technological infrastructure is now really advanced. I am sure we could operate in other countries, too, maybe in partnership with local websites.