Abstract: Publishers have to reconsider their revenue model. Facing a massive decline in the circulation of newspapers and magazines over the past years, publishers have lost not only readers but also many advertisers. Thus, publishers are faced with both changed customer expectations as well as difficulty in generating profit. Users are increasingly less willing to pay for digital products and their expectations of digital content have changed: They would like to contribute their own content as well as to comment or share with others. Furthermore, advertisers can choose from a greater variety of options for placing adverts, particularly on social media and other online platforms. Therefore, many publishers struggle with the questions: How to earn money? What is the revenue model of the new business model? In order to determine the implications for publishers’ revenue models, we assume that advertising companies are going to play a prominent role in the new business model. Hence, this paper focuses on publishers’ services for advertising companies and therefore the expectations of advertisers towards publishers’ services. In particular, this preliminary qualitative study explores advertisers’ marketing interests in communities of readers who simultaneously contribute to discussions. Therefore, (1) a pre-study was conducted followed by (2) qualitative interviews with managers from advertising companies in Germany. Our initial findings confirm that advertisers could play an important role in the revenue model of publishers if they meet the expectations of advertisers who expressed their interest in both, using communities for customer research as well as interacting with users directly. The results also identify other possible services that publishers could offer advertisers in conjunction with addressing communities of contributing readers.
Keywords: advertisers; business model; digitalization; innovation; publishers