Friday, April 16, 2010

Christian Science Monitor Thrives Online

When the nonprofit Christian Science Monitor announced in October 2008 that it would convert its daily paper to a weekly and move the rest of its reporting online, a lot of people assumed the venerable newspaper was on its deathbed or awfully close to it.

Turns out, the model is working pretty well, according to a report in Media Daily News. According to the report, print subscriptions have increased, and the online site attracted 5 million unique visitors in March. It says:

From a total paid circulation of 40,000 when the weekly debuted on April 12, 2009, the subscription base has grown to 77,000 today.
The report doesn't get into revenue numbers, but I think this is a god example of how the nonprofit sector can be an excellent laboratory for new models in this topsy-turvy age.

The paper traditionally has received a subsidy from its owner, the Church of Christ Scientist, based in Boston. And because the church publishes the paper as part of its mission rather than a need to turn a profit, it can take risks that other media outlets cannot. Here's one that appears to be paying off. Now let's see if others try to copy it.

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