In case you haven’t heard or read, our collapsing economy is endangering news businesses all across this country, and even right here in Rhode Island.
It’s all happening while news consumption is high, people need journalism desperately,
Some, including us, would argue that journalism and local, independent news is more important now than ever.
With that said, I wanted to take a few moments today to help our community and readers understand how we make money and why we need your support.
In general, about 75% of our revenue comes from advertising and about 25% from What’s Up Newp Supporters – readers who financially support us with a one-time or recurring contribution.
We charge advertisers for the ability to reach and engage with our audiences. Advertisers pay based on how many people their ads will reach. They want engaged users, not just a lot of eyeballs.
But local advertising is extremely dependent on the local economy, and COVID-19 has just about destroyed local businesses and the local economy. In just the first few weeks of the pandemic, we lost ad contracts resulting in the loss of thousands of dollars a month.
How bad is it? Some of these advertisers have been with us non-stop for seven or eight years. In the last six weeks, we’ve brought in just 10% of what we were expecting and budgeted for.
Perhaps the scariest thing of all is that none us know when or if the revenue will ever return.
When local businesses suffer, they often spend less on marketing and promotions. To be honest, for many it’s the first thing to go. Right now, there are less and less local businesses open, looking to advertise.
That brings us to the other one third of our income: What’s Up Newp supporters.
For us to continue to serve you during this tough economy, we will rely more than ever on your financial support. We must increase our supporter revenue in order to continue serving you the news during this tough economy and the weeks and months ahead.
If your budget allows for it, please become a What’s Up Newp Supporter today. Via the button below you can make a contribution of any amount either as a one-time or reoccurring contribution.
If you prefer. I’m also on Venmo (@RyanBelmore) and Paypal (PayPal.Me/whatsupnewp). Upon receiving your contribution, I will move it to our business account to ensure it gets used to support our contributions.
While we have you, let’s talk about how adveritsing and supports influences our coverage (hint: It doesn’t).
We know some of you are concerned that news outlets intentionally sensationalize the news or stoke fear, and we want to address directly any worry that that’s the case for us.
We do pay close attention to what news stories you seem to find most valuable. If a certain topic or type of story routinely gets more readership (or viewership) than others, we’re likely to spend our contributors energy doing more of that type of work.
We value your feedback, and our business model depends on our ability to provide coverage that is consistently interesting, useful and valuable. We will be in better shape financially if we offer more of what you find useful and less of what you don’t want.
One way that we gauge your interest in something is by paying attention to our online “traffic” — to which stories get clicked on and shared the most.
That’s true on regular days, and it’s definitely true during big news events, when we want to be somewhere you turn to to stay informed and make sense of what’s going on. However, it would take significant spikes in advertising (or ratings) to influence our overall revenue (spikes our collapsing economy is not likely to produce anytime soon). And for us, revenue considerations simply do not take priority over meaningful public service.
Thank you for reading and for your continued support,
~ Ryan Belmore
Owner, What’s Up Newp & What’s Up RI