The Future of Media Funding Lies Within Sponsored Content (Or Is It?)


Last week, I’ve mentioned a little bit about BuzzFeed Envy and how it generates revenues and sponsored contents. Of course, I did mention how BuzzFeed produce articles with little content and clickbait titles. While that is indeed true, you have to admit the one thing that BuzzFeed is doing right: Sponsored Content.

As we all know, online media nowadays have been struggling in trying to find their source of funding. In a paper by Krumsvik , she highlights that internet advertising has not fully taken over the market from traditional media’s advertising channels. Sure, internet advertising has surpassed newspaper’s advertising, but overall internet advertising market is still far behind traditional advertising channel.

Thus, some media seek alternative methods to fund their business. Some of them use the subscription methods, while others simply urge the audience to donate to their cause.


And then there’s BuzzFeed. With its sponsored content business model, BuzzFeed seems to be doing great, much better than its contemporaries. They offer different varieties of advertisement and partnership that will surely attract brands to advertise with them.

So, why does this model work? In a feature article from, the founder of BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti, has given us the secret to his website’s success. It involves more than just clickbait titles or the shareable contents, as it’s all about the algorithm, the data-driven apparatus that uncovers the secret that makes people click on a link.

One question looms: is this the best model as a source of funding for online media?

I personally believe that this model does not work for everyone. I mean, can you imagine a media like New York Times doing a sponsored content like BuzzFeed has done so far? In the end, it depends on what kind of online media it aims to be. Since its inception, BuzzFeed has decided to be a website full of shareable contents and eventually capitalise it. Online media with credentials meant to be as news media will not be able to replicate BuzzFeed’s model because of the said credentials.

It surely is not easy for online media to survive with the current business model, but if they can come up with a different model, maybe partnering with traditional news media like Krumsvik suggested, I think they can survive for more years to come.




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