Most websites of newspapers and magazines don’t make serious money. The Guardian website, until very recently, was run at a (great big) loss. There are two main methods to monetise content and you should look at these:
A) Charging for advertising – Revenue from online advertising is increasing, although it’s still very small beer compared to TV ad revenue. Publishers can’t charge as much per ad online as they do in their paper editions.
B) Charging the reader for content – There is a long list of newspapers, magazine and standalone news sites that have tried and failed to charge for access to articles. It seems Internet users are a bunch of tightwads and cheap-skates.
The publishers’ old excuse that there was not a convenient system of micro-payments (which would allow readers to pay e.g 99p to download a single feature) just doesn’t stand up today. There are now numerous micro-payment systems available.
Examples of successful charging are few-and-far between in the UK – they tend to be the websites of trade publications, which provide very valuable niche content, unavailable elsewhere. The Financial Times website has some very good content, particularly its company analysis column, Lex. Loot.com, the website of the classified ads newspaper, charges to access its newest adverts. People looking buy cars or property (the type of stuff that sells quickly) seem to be willing to pay. There are other examples of success out there.
Useful sites for research:
How to make money on your news content website
This is the future for online newspapers (The Register)
Paidcontent.org – huge site on the economics of content
New York Times charging Paul Ford Blog