- Extra Points
- The Newsletter Industry Problem and NIL
The Newsletter Industry Problem and NIL
How independent media's struggles explain one of NIL's biggest unsolved problems
Good morning, and thanks for your continued support of Extra Points.
I’m going to warn you up front here. This post is something that I’ve been thinking about for months, and while it does have very real and applicable ties to NIL…it’s also some inside baseball media industry stuff. If that isn’t your thing, I completely understand. Maybe play a little Athletic Director Simulator 3000 this morning, and I’ll see you in your inbox tomorrow with something completely different.
Before we get into the NIL world…let’s talk about how most media companies make money.
If you’re reading a website for free, chances are, it makes money from selling ads. Individually selling ad packages is time-consuming and expensive, which is why many websites use programmatic advertising. I’m dramatically oversimplifying here, but essentially, that means a third party packages a ton of web properties together and algorithmically serves up ads based on your browsing habits, demographics, etc. The publisher then gets paid based on the number of people who saw (and sometimes engaged) with that ad.
To earn more money from ads, publishers want more people going to their websites. It’s why clicks, traffic and scale are so important for many publishers. The more people click the story, the more people see the ads for Dad Bod Destroyer Fitness Supplements or DraftBros Killer Parlays or whatever, and the more money the publisher makes.
If you don’t have a large audience, programmatic advertising tends to pay very, very little. The other common ways publications with smaller audiences make enough money to function is with subscriptions and paywalled content. Since this publication is more likely to write about CAA realignment updates, nitty-gritty NIL analysis or NCAA governance reform, it will never achieve the scale of a website that writes about College Football Playoff predictions or What Time Does The NIT Bracket Come Out.
So I have to paywall some content. Like I’m about to do right here.
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