I don’t believe — and I feel this very strongly — that any publisher should be wholly dependent to advertising revenue. I feel that strongly for a quasi-ethical reason: publishers tell editors-in-chief… to take care of the client who pays. And if the only buyer is the advertiser, that’s the community whom publishers ask editors-in-chief to serve. I believe that readers need to have some skin in the game if their interests are to be fairly represented.
Jason Pontin, Publisher and Editor in Chief, MIT’s Technology Review, to Digiday’s Josh Sternberg. Apps are Waste of Resources.
FJP: Money is a master, and if the only money coming through the door is from advertising it’s the advertisers’ needs that get catered to rather than the audience.
Can the needs of each group align? Sure, and they might necessarily do so since “bad” advertising can drive audience away which is in nobody’s interest. It falls on publishers to fully know and explain their audiences to their advertisers, how best to engage with them and be firm with what lines can’t be crossed.
In this interview, Jason is rather open that the Technology Review hasn’t quite figured out how to get the audience to have skin in the game, as he calls it. One idea is “memberships” along the lines of what Ars Technica and GigaOM do.