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A study on business model of social entrepreneurial media: A case of 4-Way Voice
social entrepreneurial media
The mass media ought to bear certain responsibilities to society. However, pulled by the need of today's businesses to turn a profit and subject to vicious market competition, the media has become reliant on advertisers. This reliance and the worsening quality of reporting reduces the public into the role of consumers. Because of this, the media no longer plays the role it should or performs its function. These circumstances should see the birth of alternative media to fill the social functions the mass media fails to perform. However, because alternative media outlets often run on a non-profit basis, they lack the resources they need and therefore run into difficulties. This situation has led to the gradual rise of "social enterprise media", which has become a possible path for solving the problems of running alternative media outlets. "4-Way Voice" is the earliest social enterprise media company established in Taiwan. It is currently the largest media outlet for immigrants to the Chinese-speaking world. This study investigates "4-Way Voice’s" business model by examining case studies. This study demonstrates that while "4-Way Voice" uses the business model of a social enterprise, its affiliation with Shih Hsin University means that it is not completely financially independent. During the period this research was conducted, "4-Way Voice" was in the midst of a period of shocks as it prepared to separate itself from the university. "4-Way Voice" was in a constant search for new sources of income, such as multifaceted collaborations with other organizations or crowdfunding. "4-Way Voice" even considered abolishing sections of unprofitable languages in the newspaper. This created a clash of opinions between "4-Way Voice's" management and its editors, and turned into a tug-of-war between business logic and social goals. This research supports the idea that if a media organization positions itself as a social enterprise, it should be truthful, transparent, and open when facing its social goals and its audience. A media outlet can only become a social enterprise media organization worthy of public trust when it is transparent about who its partners are, where its income comes from, how it distributes surplus income, and what it does for society. Furthermore, to ensure stable development, social enterprise media organizations must constantly review the needs of those they serve, moving together with the times. In addition to focusing on the stability of their business performance, they must also formulate evaluation mechanisms to examine their social influence whenever necessary.
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