Western European newspapers and their online revenue models: An overview

  • Valérie-Anne Bleyen Free University of Brussels
  • Leo Van Hove Free University of Brussels
Keywords: Newspapers, revenue models, online content, bundling, pay-per-view


This paper analyses the Web sites of 82 national daily newspapers in eight Western European countries, in order to determine their online revenue models. Overall, 80.5 per cent of our newspapers try to monetise (part of) their online content in direct ways. In doing so, the bulk of the paying sites rely on 'traditional’ online subscriptions rather than unbundled access options although 43.9 per cent of all sites offer both, and in this way target regular as well as occasional readers. However, the low cut-off points between the online subscriptions and pay-per-view seem to indicate that our newspapers have embraced pay-per-view only half-heartedly. We also find that newspapers that adopt ‘mixed bundling’ have a higher fear of channel spill-over between the online and print subscription. The same is true for smaller newspapers. An important finding is also that for all the strategic decisions that we analyse, there are dramatic inter-country differences. This suggests that local market circumstances – such as the relative importance of advertising revenues, Internet penetration, and even mimicking behaviour – play a major role.

Author Biographies

Valérie-Anne Bleyen, Free University of Brussels
PhD student
Leo Van Hove, Free University of Brussels
Associate Professor of Economics
How to Cite
Bleyen, V.-A., & Van Hove, L. (2007). Western European newspapers and their online revenue models: An overview. First Monday, 12(12). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v12i12.2014