Chris Gampat's ongoing quest to turn talking about black and white art photography into a business got me to thinking, is there a business here? Let's poke at a few numbers.
First, let's suppose that the language in question is English (if you're dealing with Mandarin Chinese the situation is a somewhat better). We've got about 1 billion people on the planet who speak English, and let us suppose that all of them read it fluently enough to follow an English-language blog. We're erring on the side of generosity.
Let us also assume that all these people have cell phones and internet access, again, a bit generous. They probably all also have a camera in their phone.
Suppose 1 in 100 of those people has some interest in Photography as a thing they might like to read about. That gives 10 million people who might read some English-language photography content, and let's say, I dunno, 20 percent of those are the sort of people to become regular readers of something other than facebook or whatever the major social media sites are. That leaves us 2 million people.
Given that sites like PetaPixel and DPReview and whatnot seem to clock in around (very vague estimates) 100,000-200,000 regular readers and probably roughly the same number of casual/occasionals, it feels like we're in the ballpark. Those 2 million are going to be spread around a bit over the half dozen or so majors, many of them will have found more niche-y homes, and so on. 2 million is at least a credible number.
Now, what percentage of those are going to be interested in Art & Culture? 10%? 1%? You're looking at a total global market of, estimating generously, 200,000 people. Of that population, let's say 1 in 4 finds your particular take on things interesting enough to read your output from time to time, you're down to 50,000 people. In total.
If you capture 100% of those generously estimated 50,000 readers you can not make a living. Let me re-phrase that. You cannot make a living as a pure media play. There's just not enough money there.
Google AdSense says they think I could make $12 a month on my blog, which has maybe 200-400 readers (in my 50,000 readers sense, so including the casual drive-bys as well as the regular/daily readers). Scaling up to those 50,000 readers (250x), AdSense clocks in at $3000 a month. To capture that market, you're probably spending some money on content, or at least on staff and infrastructure, so there's less money even than that. Maybe AdSense sucks and the real number ought to be more like $6000 a month, if you did the advertising right.
Now, if you chose to make the blog a marketing vehicle for selling something else, services or products, than there might be a business here. But nobody's making a living with a Photography Art E-Magazine, there is literally only a few thousand bucks a month -- globally -- on the table here.
And, to be honest, I think that the real number is more like 5,000 (1% are interested in Art and Culture, not 10%). I've been writing this blog for a while, and every now and then I place a piece somewhere else or get a high-visibility link. There's a spike in traffic, but in a week or two it backs off to the baseline. I think I've tapped my market out pretty completely. There's probably a bit of turnover, people get bored, new people discover photothunk, but I'm pretty sure this is it. Maybe I could quadruple my readership or something, with the right sort of push? That's generous, I think.
So, $48 a month. For, I admit, a pretty fringe blog. Go more mainstream, generate 10x the money! $500/month.
There's no business here. I'm not gonna monetize you guys, because there are easier ways to get $12/month, when you get right down to it.