Photo: Flickr user richardtrois
Rue89, the biggest “online first” news site in France, just published its P&L.The bottomline? The site is still losing money, but less rapidly.
And there are some interesting teachings here for online media, because Rue89 has experimented with new revenue streams: mainly training and a monthly print magazine.
Rue89 had revenues in 2010 of 1,879,733 euros and lost 333,163 euros.
Of revenues, 797,492 came from online advertising, up 83% from the previous year, 307,039 from services (more on that later) and 614,641 from the print magazine. Most of the costs were employee costs.
Here’s what’s interesting in Rue89’s accounts:
- The site makes a lot of money from services, which include building websites and training other journalists. On the agency side, Rue89 is a big supporter of the open source Drupal content management system, which they built their site on. They have used this technological expertise to build a nice agency business. On the traning side, they do training sessions on online journalism for print journalists.
- The magazine is profitable but not that much. Last year, Rue89 started a monthly magazine featuring the “best of” the website. That part of the operation is profitable, but not that much. It earned around 600K euros, but cost are 500K euros, and this doesn’t even account for the fact that most of the content in the magazine is amortized by the website. Print is profitable, but expensive.
Another interesting experiment is “the Wall”, which works kind of like the million dollar homepage: anyone can buy a “brick” on the Wall, which is a dynamic webpage where people can add stickers. It’s basically fundraising. Here’s what it looks like.
France being France, Rue89 also landed 60K in subsidies for its technology development efforts.
Sadly, Rue89 didn’t disclose its readership numbers along with its business metrics.
We’re big fans of Rue89, which is the closest thing to a French Huffington Post (disclosure: your writer once wrote there for free), and the comparison with Huffington Post is interesting.
Rue89, whose founders come from the print side, is actually much less bloggy than HuffPo, or Business Insider, and much narrower, with a strong politics focus and a small “business” vertical. We’ve always thought Rue89 could benefit from a faster pace and easier to monetise verticals like shopping and travel.
On the other hand, Rue89 has been great at nurturing a thriving commenter/contributor community and has high quality content (often much higher than in the French press, although this is a low bar to clear) and editorial.
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