If they could sell several ads per page and sell every single page view they offer, they might be able to generate something on the order of $10 per page per thousand views, or $450,000 per month—$5.4 million per year. (Niche sites can charge more. My Wi-Fi site once had about an $80 CPM when you added up all the ads spots on a page; the more general you get, the far lower the ad rates.)
That’s a reasonable amount of money, but no site sells all its inventory when they have that much to offer; the current ad climate is poor; and $10 per page might be too high an estimate.
Assuming a more reasonable set of assumptions, let’s say that the P-I could pull in the equivalent of $1.5 million per year starting on its first Web-only day from all ad efforts, including sponsorships, advertorial, and other relationships.
That’s enough for a publisher, a handful of back-office folks (programmers, administrative staff), and, with middling salaries and benefits, maybe 10 actual reporters who also act as videographers and podcasters. A lot of functions, including legal, would have to be outsourced. This also sidesteps any union issues the P-I would face in the transition.
(via Jay Rosen)