There’s a quote I read from Rupert Murdoch (I’m pretty sure) that I wished I had saved. He said it right around the time News Corp acquired MySpace. It went something like “I’ve never known a publication that didn’t aggregate a large audience that didn’t make money on advertising.”
In other words: Grow audience = Make money.
I think that’s his thinking behind this quote:
What if, at the Journal, we spent $100 million a year hiring all the best business journalists in the world? Say 200 of them. And spent some money on establishing the brand but went global â€” a great, great newspaper with big, iconic names, outstanding writers, reporters, experts. And then you make it free, online only. No printing plants, no paper, no trucks. How long would it take for the advertising to come? It would be successful, it would work and you’d make … a little bit of money. Then again, the Journal and the Times make very little money now.
Say what you will about Murdoch, he has a history of concentrating on audience growth, and he’s made a lot of money doing it.