Vileine is a feminist online magazine. As they state themselves, they believe in in ‘women empowering the world!’, rather than the world having to empower them. The magazine, with Dutch journalist Hadjar Benmiloud at its helm, aims to investigate and interpret the new feminist wave.
It took Benlimoud three years to make her dream reality. After endless meetings with big publishers she came to realize that if she wanted to ensure that the magazine remained hers and would not end up in the hands of big corporations she would have to eschew large investments and do it on her own. This means earning less (or no) money but having the creative freedom she sought.
This touches upon the very basic problem that many media startups face: how to start making profits? Cook and Sirkunen (2012) discuss several ways to make startups profitable. The first and most obvious is revenue from advertisers. This is usually combined with other bussiness models.
Cook and Sirkunen identify two main categories in such business models. The first contains service-oriented business models. These do not aim at monetizing journalistic output. One can think of startups specialized in selling technology or those that collect articles from other outlets. The second, the storytelling-oriented business model, has traditionally been the most popular. These startups aim to make money by creating fresh and original content that attracts readers that are willing to pay.
Vileine’s business model is clearly oriented at storytelling. In their case it aims to fill the perceived gap in quality feminist writing and giving strong women a voice. Although it is as yet not profitable, Vileine has gathered a lot of positive critique and can only go forward!
Cook, C. & Sirkunnen, E. (2012). Revenue sources. In: Sirkunnen, E. & Cook, C. (eds). Chasing sustainability on the net. Tamperre Research Centre for Journalism, Media and Communication.