The old model meant that the writer will likely only get paid for the article if it is read by a predetermined (and inevitably huge) number of eye balls, which means that for the majority of the time they are writing for the publisher for free.
To make matters worse the contributor does not even know the number of visitors their article generated. Again, this equates to the same long-term result of driving down quality.
High quality editorial is a serious endeavour and the better publishers out there should have the intention not just to back it in theory, but to become the standard by which others are judged.
When folk suggest that utilising a new payment model risks losing existing contributor relationships because it is based on merit, I do not understand the logic. In my eyes, it assumes the person does not value what they are writing; and if they as the producer do not value their product then why produce that product in the first place and/or expect others to value it?
Of course I expect some within the profession would dislike the proposed system, as it means change. Many within publishing are terrified of change; still want to be paid by the word, which lest we forget is an entirely unsustainable way of operating in the digital environment; and are guilty of assuming the worst without first gaining a comprehensive understanding of the causation.
Will a new meritocratic payment system work for all publishers?
No, but I do firmly believe the future for online-only editorial exists in concepts such as this. For the reasons I have outlined in this article, I do not believe the existing models have sustainable long-term futures.
Evolutionary economics tells us that in order to prosper we must evolve and adapt. The publishing sector is not exempt from this. It is now time for both journalist and publisher to adapt.
The table below outlines the model, complete with the bands we are starting with. It is our expectation that with all the Contributor-produced content being within the guidelines of a Metered Paywall (meaning everybody can initially access the content) then the average page view per article produced would be somewhere north of 2,000.
We have however seen some recent articles garner more than ten-times that amount.
In addition to the financial aspects of this model, all our contributors will be given a complimentary (monthly) subscription to the platform. They’ll receive free access to the reputation management toolkit, the industry glossary, education-listings, career-related content and job search will be of continuous value to the writer’s career.
So, in order to summarise, the business would be (1) paying contributors for the creation of the article; (2) offering a transparent and attractive bonus system for writers; and (3) supplying complimentary access to premium tools, content and services.
That is a good deal and reinforces our commitment to quality journalism and the industry as a whole.
P.S. Thanks you for reading this series of articles. For reference, the other articles in the series can be found here:
- The problem with existing models
- The need to diversify revenues
- Better visualisations and immersive content
- Investigating industry average numbers
- Introducing a new contributor payment model