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Damaged newspapers, damaged civic life: How the gutting of local newsrooms has led to a less-informed public
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Oct. 30, 2009, 11 a.m.

GlobalPost generating revenue of $1 million in first year

Every future-of-news conference should invite Bill Densmore, director of the Media Giraffe Project and CircLabs, if only to serve as the scribe. He was, fortunately, in attendance at yesterday’s conference on business models for news, hosted by our friends across Harvard Yard at the Shorenstein Center.

I’m always on the lookout for new data on the news industry, and there’s plenty in Densmore’s extensive notes from the event. In particular, I was interested to see traffic and revenue figures for GlobalPost, the international-news startup that launched in January with a mission to supplant the loss of newspaper foreign bureaus. Josh also jotted down notes that I’m using here.

Phil Balboni, chief executive of GlobalPost, said the company is on pace to generate $1 million in revenue this year and expects $3 million in revenue next year, which would reduce their operating loss by 50 percent. (He didn’t say so explicitly, but you might deduce from those numbers that GlobalPost’s annual expenses are $5 million.) The goal is to achieve profitability by 2012.

GlobalPost’s current revenue streams are advertising (sold exclusively in-house), syndication (with partners like CBS and the New York Daily News), and its subscription Passport service. Balboni said they have 500 paying customers for Passport, which costs $104 a year or $50 for academics and seniors. “I see the path to 25,000 or 50,000 members in the years ahead,” he said.

As for traffic, Balboni said they’re up to 500,000 unique visitors per month with a goal of 1 million monthly uniques by next year. Seventy-five precent of those visitors are in the U.S. or Canada. He said GlobalPost needs 2 million to 4 million monthly uniques to be profitable.

GlobalPost has a small staff of full-time editors in Boston’s North End, and content is produced by a cadre of freelance correspondents across the world.

POSTED     Oct. 30, 2009, 11 a.m.
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