"Most journalists know only a few things about the companies they work for," writes Matt Skibinski of The Lenfest Institute in an article titled: One subscriber or 48,000 page views? Why journalists should know the "unit economics" of digital news.
"They know the news industry, especially the local news business, is struggling. They may generally know that if their articles attract more page views, the company makes more money from advertising — though they likely have little sense of how much. And in the last year or two, they’ve probably heard an announcement or two from an eager executive about the company’s new, or newly emphasized, digital subscription or membership initiative.
"What they don’t know are the answers to some important questions, like: How much revenue does a typical article I write generate from advertising? What if it goes viral? Is it better for my article to get lots of page views or for it to attract digital subscribers? How do those two goals relate? After all, the coverage that generates the most clicks may by completely different from the stories that attract subscribers."