Can a Publisher Use Crowdfunding to Replace Ads?

The Web comic site Penny Arcade is asking fans, via Kickstarter, to crowdfund a fully funded reader model. Photograph by Penny Arcade Seattle via Kickstarter

We have already seen Kickstarter, the popular crowdfunding platform, used to finance some fairly interesting media experiments, including books from authors such as Seth Godin, record albums by artists like Amanda Palmer, and even an entire magazine in the case of Matter. Could a publisher use the service to crowdfund its way out of the advertising-revenue trap in which many media companies find themselves? Penny Arcade, which publishes online comics and puts on related events, is trying to do exactly that with an ambitious Kickstarter campaign aimed at replacing the revenue it currently gets from advertising with funding from fans. But will it work? And could it provide a model for other media companies?

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