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Why Is Your News Site Going Out of Business?

 Member Newsletter
March 6, 2024 10:45 a.m.

Over the years I’ve written about structural problems in the digital news industry, often driven by the growth of platform monopolies and other issues. Just in the last few months and even in the last few weeks we’ve seen a new round of publications shuttering or pivoting to publication zombiehood. So why is this happening? Why is your favorite news site suddenly going under? If you’re listening you’ve probably heard the story in general. But I wanted to share some numbers with you that I think will make it much more concrete.

(I think we can add something to the equation here because for a mix of business and personality reasons, we’re willing to share very granular dollar figures that very, very few other publications are willing to share.)

This chart which I just made shows the exact dollar amounts TPM brought in over the previous eight years through programmatic or “third party” advertising. As I think is pretty clear, if this is your business, you’re dead. You don’t have a business.

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