How Will Content Publishers Be Affected by Recession or Economic Downturn?

A black cloud is hanging over most of the Western economies. A downturn is under way, and no one is really sure how bad it’s going to get.

Online content publishers around the world are asking how they will be affected if recession strikes.

I’ve done a bit of research, and there seems to be some consensus among the “experts” about the possible impact.

The Opportunities from Recession

There is some good news.

If recession sets in, advertisers will look to allocate shrinking budgets to the most effective marketing channels. Everyone agrees this is the Internet.

It’s cost-effective and measurable, and it can be highly targeted.

All the analysts are predicting that online ad income will continue to grow even if recession sets in.

Likewise, the affiliate marketing networks are predicting a boom time. This is probably why Google, Yahoo and Microsoft have been acquiring the big players.

Affiliate marketing is even more accountable than straight advertising, because companies pay only when a sale is made.

High-quality specialist content publishers, who have advertising on their sites, will be in demand. Ad revenues are also likely to trickle down to smaller sites as ad networks struggle to find enough inventory.

Even the Threats Could Be Opportunities

The biggest threat to existing online publishers is likely to come from the print publishers. They are already suffering from falling advertising revenues and readership.

They will respond to recession in one of two ways.

They will either continue to trim back their operations and we will see many titles disappear, or they will aggressively move online.

Most print publishers have been woefully bad at online business, but as the old guard retire from the boardroom, the Internet savvy should move in.

They have two ways to proceed.

They can either build their web businesses organically, or they can acquire established websites.

In my opinion, the print publishers will aggressively turn to the web try to expand their online activities rapidly by buying existing content sites.

Again, this will present a great opportunity for some content website owners to sell up.

The Unknown Threat

The biggest unknown is the growth of the content publishing market.

If online content websites are highlighted as a successful way of making money in recession, there is likely to be a surge in launches. This will inevitably create increased competition.

How fast the sector will grow and how good the new entrants will be remain to be seen.


Content publishing looks like it will be one of the few industries that could grow significantly as a result of a recession.

But new entrants will increase competition, and as always, the best sites in each niche are likely to experience the greatest growth.

If you are thinking about setting up a content website, now is great time, but make sure you select your specialization carefully and commit to making it the best site in your space.