TLDR is primarily funded and supported by our viewers. We gain income from ad revenue and donations from our fans. You can learn more by watching our video on the topic:
TLDR’s Funding Policy:
One of the core principles of TLDR is that we are an independent and unbiased organisation. In many ways that’s the least you can expect from a news organisation, but it’s becoming increasingly rare, and that’s kind of understandable. We now live in a world where most people no longer pay for news, and a lot of people get a majority of their news through social media.
We truly believe in keeping TLDR independent from other large news organisations (we’ve had to turn down a couple of very lucrative offers) and maintaining our content’s authentic unbiased voice. To ensure these principles stand firm we have a few core guidelines
- TLDR has no plans to ever merge with another news entity. If it ever did, this would be highly publicised and we would do everything to ensure you’re aware of the change.
- No company, government, political party or individual will ever have control over the content we produce. We will never accept money change/adjust our content. We will never give anyone creative control over our content. We will never offer any interviewee final say over the content we produce.
- TLDR will never allow any company, government, political party or individual to sponsor content which too closely aligns with the topic of the content. For example, if we were to cover the Labour Party’s Manifesto, this content would never be sponsored by any individual or group affiliated with the Labour Party.
Things would be easier if we didn’t have to accept any outside money, but unfortunately that’s not the world we live in. Spend 10 minutes speaking to one about the online media environment and you will one thing come up time and again; the importance of diversified income streams. For online businesses (and more traditional enterprises) having one source of income is never a good thing. We don’t want to rely solely on fan contributions or YouTube advertising revenue; you could suddenly stop donating or YouTubes algorithm could change against us. So thats why on this page you will hear us discuss a variety of funding channels. We deliberately are trying to increase the channels in order to minimise risk. For the sake of simplicity the core funding channels for TLDR in order of the contribution they make are:
- YouTube Advertising Revenue
- Donations Through Patreon
- Donations Through PayPal
- Google Adsense Revenue (from this website)
- Merchandise Sales
- Sponsored Videos
Support TLDR via Patreon:
Patreon is a simple way to give monthly donations to TLDR. As we grow we require a consistent, diversified income and our backer’s support through Patreon really helps to facilitate that. In return we give our backers great perks; like early access to videos, the power to vote on video topics, exclusive behind the scenes information, producer credit and exclusive TLDR merch. To learn more head over to our Patreon Account.
Support TLDR via Paypal:
Some of our fans don’t want to donate through Patreon. That might be because they don’t want to sign up for an ongoing payment plan or they disagree with Patreon’s business practices. Either way we wanted to let these people support TLDR in another way. Your donations through PayPal really help us grow the business and reach more people. You might not get any bonus perks by donating this way, but you still get our sincere gratitude.
Adverts Placed Algorithmically on TLDR Content:
The percentage of TLDR’s income comes from the adverts placed on our content. TLDR viewers enjoying our content and watching the ads alongside them, really allows this whole thing to be possible.
We currently do not hand-select the adverts or advertisers, all on this website and on YouTube are placed by Google. In turn, Google gives us a cut of the advertising revenue earned.
As we don’t select the advertisers, we have limited control over the adverts which appear on our content. Google allows us to block certain categories of adverts, and we have done so. Some examples of this include:
- Political Adverts – The entire brand mission of TLDR is to create unbias and non-partisan content. Having political adverts next to our content runs directly against that goal.
- Gambling Adverts – TLDR wants to help inform you and let you make better decisions. We don’t believe that promoting potentially damaging behaviours such as gambling fits with that objective.
- Adverts Related to Spirituality, Horoscopes and Tarot Reading – Although TLDR supports and promotes self expression and free thought, we also highly value empirical evidence. We want TLDR to be a source of well researched factual content, so having adverts for more subjective and less proven techniques (such as those listed) is contrary to that mission.
This is not an exhaustive list, but merely attempts to show some of the categories of adverts we don’t allow and the reasoning for this. If you see any adverts on any of our content which you don’t think we’d approve of please let us know. A number of our advertising policies have been shaped by viewers who have highlighted issues we had. If you do want to contact us regarding this please email email@example.com using the subject line ‘Advertising’
We are constantly approached by companies who want to sponsor our content. These companies often have huge deep pockets and big marketing budgets, but more important than that is how they fit with our brand. When selecting companies to promote, our top priority is ensuring that their ethos aligns with TLDR and that we genuinely believe it’s a product our viewers will be interested in. Any time that we’re being paid to promote another company we will make sure that it’s made as clear as possible. In addition to this, we always insist that the sponsored content doesn’t intrude into the video. That means that the shoutout at the start of the video should be no longer than a standard plug, ideally shorter than normal, there will also be a longer promotion at the end of the video, but considering it’s at the end you’re more than welcome to just leave if you don’t want to watch the sponsored content.
What Does TLDR Spend Money On?
Generally, businesses don’t go into huge depth about how they spend their income, but considering a decent percentage of our income comes directly from our viewers, you have a right to ask how it’s being used.
The majority of TLDR’s income is used to keep the business afloat. Making videos isn’t cheap. We have staff, equipment, a studio, software costs, subscription fees, travel costs, utility bills and that’s only scratching the surface.
The rest of the money is invested into TLDR to make the business viable into the future, beyond Brexit, and beyond our current plans. We want to ensure that by donating and spending money with us you’re helping us continue into the future, and to do that we need to save and invest a certain amount of money.
At the time of writing, none of the money goes directly to TLDR’s owner. All income comes through TLDR’s parent company (THREE26 LTD) and is held within their bank accounts. THREE26 LTD then, in turn, pay wages to some members of the Team TLDR, including the businesses’ owner. All team members are paid on either a fixed rate or hourly basis, and none of the team receive extra income based on the performance of the company. While for some businesses performance-related bonuses make sense, in our case we don’t want the extra profit from your donations simply being handed to our team members and owners. All of the money donated, all of the money being spent with us goes towards the business, and your spending makes no impact on how much our team receives in compensation.
Funding for Estonian Videos:
Our trip to Estonia in 2018 was entirely possible due to our fans. We were able to cover the costs of travel, equipment and hotels due to the generosity of our Patreon backers and the advertising revenue earned from YouTube. All of the major costs were paid by THREE26 LTD (the parent company of TLDR News). The only exceptions to this were the costs of travelling between interviews and one meal, which were paid for by the city of Tallinn and Visit Estonia. All other costs were covered by THREE26 LTD to avoid biasing our reporting.
Did We Make That Clear?
The whole point of this page is to make our approach to financials and funding as clear as possible. If you do have any further questions, or think any section of this page needs greater detail please let us know. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org using the subject line ‘Funding’