Brill's Pipedream: 10% Of Current News Consumers Will Pay

from the good-luck-with-that dept

There's a pretty simple rule of thumb in figuring out if a new business doesn't know how to approach its market. It's when it claims something along the lines of "well, this is an $x billion market, and we just need y% to be successful." That's someone taking a top down wishful thinking approach. It's a recipe for failure. What you want to hear is the bottom up explanation: how is this business going to get the first customer to sign up, and then the second and third and so on. Claiming you just need y% of a market makes it sound "easy" to get customers, rather than recognizing you have to work at getting customers and actually provide them with something of real value.

So, while we were already really skeptical of Stephen Brill's Journalism Online venture, where he's trying to get people to pay for online news, consider us even more skeptical after hearing that he's going around telling people that he's hoping to get 10% of today's news readers to start paying. Of course, as is noted at that link, most studies have shown you're lucky if you can get 2% of people to pay for something that was previously free. So the 10% number is pure fantasy. But the bigger point is that Brill seems to be making the "we just need y%" mistake, rather than giving anyone a reason to buy.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Idaho Potato Commisioner, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 9:02am

    He's right

    How many of us morons pay for bottled water...

     

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      identicon
      Mechwarrior, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 9:17am

      Re: He's right

      Just buy one bottle of water and keep refilling it. Thats what I do till I throw out the bottle after a few weeks.

       

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      Jiminy Cricket (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 9:20am

      Re: He's right

      He's wrong. You neglect to realize that people buy bottled water because they've been given a reason to buy. It took time, and money, and a whole lot of marketing/scaremongering, but the effort was undertaken, and we all know the results.

       

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        identicon
        bigpicture, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 12:21pm

        Re: Re: He's right

        Sometimes it takes a little longer for the slow ones to learn when there is nothing substantial that distinguishes one thing from another.
        Bottled water is just processed utility water (sometimes not even processed) you can buy a filtering system and process it yourself for less, and at least know how it is processed.

        Why would anyone pay for news once they realize that it is just processed information. And it is processed in the way that those in control want it to be processed. Like for instance when they stopped using "bailout" and started using "rescue plan". When the words that really need to be used are SCAM, GREED, CORRUPTION, DERELICTION OF DUTY etc. Who wants to pay for MISINFORMATION??? Who even wants to read it at all???

         

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 9:54am

      Re: He's right

      "How many of us morons pay for bottled water..."

      How is that worse than paying for coffee? Or soda?

       

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 9:58am

        Re: Re: He's right

        "How is that worse than paying for coffee? Or soda?"

        Well, for starters, you aren't paying taxes to readily make coffee or soda available for free.

        Secondly, the marketing platform for bottled water is built upon a scare tactic (you're water isn't good for you!) that is suspect at best, on top of which some of the same worrisome chemicals found in tap water are ALSO found in bottled water (sodium fluoride).

         

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      identicon
      robin, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:04am

      Re: He's right

      he's not right. we do not pay for bottled water, we pay for the convenience of not having to go looking around for a water source.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:36am

        Re: Re: He's right

        I'd pay extra for Aquafina/distilled water. It tastes different and better. I never realized the water I drank had taste until I tried the Aquafina.

        Deer Park (may be local to NC) actually tastes bad.

         

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    identicon
    Floyd, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 9:20am

    Bottled water is a good.

    Bottled water is worth the price. This is evidenced by the fact that people pay for it! Here's an example: I'm going on a road trip with my family. Would I rather pay for bottled water or stop every 15 minutes when some one wants a drink? How about when I'm at the mall, and I'm thirsty, but I'd like to drink some water that doesn't taste like sh**, and I'd like to not be tied to the water fountain near the smelly restrooms? There are many situations in which bottled water is well worth the price.

    Online news, however, is already free. We're not talking about a new or improved product. Just more of the same... For money! Bottled water and free/fountain water are very different and have different uses.

    DUH.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 9:28am

      Re: Bottled water is a good.

      "Bottled water is worth the price. This is evidenced by the fact that people pay for it!"

      Holy logic fail, Batman...

      "Here's an example: I'm going on a road trip with my family. Would I rather pay for bottled water or stop every 15 minutes when some one wants a drink?"

      Yes, if only someone could invent some kind of container that would house filtered tap water so that you could carry it around and bring it in the car with you. Then you could buy TWO of these magical recepticles, put one in the fridge and another in the freezer and have nice cold water for miles and miles. Dammit, won't someone get ON THIS?

      "How about when I'm at the mall, and I'm thirsty, but I'd like to drink some water that doesn't taste like sh**, and I'd like to not be tied to the water fountain near the smelly restrooms?"

      Haha, please tell me where you live so I can avoid whatever grossly negligent mall you have. If they allow the bathrooms to smell and pump in shit-smelling water, why in the world do you shop there? Wait...you're talking about Ford City Mall, aren't you?

      "There are many situations in which bottled water is well worth the price."

      No, there isn't. Not unless you live in a municipality that does not offer water and/or a tap filter that is digestible. If that's not the case, you have bigger problems to deal with than buying bottled water, like electing a proper government representative.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:19am

        Re: Re: Bottled water is a good.

        Oh just step away from the keyboard. You called a logic fail when you didn't even consider the important analogy here! Bottled water is bought because people are to lazy to prepare their own supplies in reusable bottles.

        How does paying for news sound like something a lazy person would do. If an online newspaper asked for money a lazy person would make a grunting sound and click on the next online newspaper that doesn't bother him for credit card information. A few clicks is a lot easier than typing in a credit card number!

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:27am

          Re: Re: Re: Bottled water is a good.

          "Bottled water is bought because people are to lazy to prepare their own supplies in reusable bottles."

          What do you base that on? That's certainly part of the market, but based on my anecdotal evidence most people buy bottled water for cleanliness and taste. In fact, the comment I was responding to brought up that very issue. So what in the world are you talking about?

           

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bottled water is a good.

            obviously I'm talking to a wall. good day.

             

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            ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Bottled water is a good.

            "What do you base that on? That's certainly part of the market, but based on my anecdotal evidence most people buy bottled water for cleanliness and taste."

            Well, just to add to your anecdote collection, I buy water when I'm out and about. It's literally a substitute for the Coke Zero my GF buys. The price is about the same, but I'm getting a purer form of hydration.

             

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              Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bottled water is a good.

              "It's literally a substitute for the Coke Zero my GF buys. The price is about the same, but I'm getting a purer form of hydration"

              I'd have to check to be sure, but I'm fairly certain that Coke Zero is a diueretic, meaning that it overs a negative sum total hydration.

               

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                ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 11:16am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bottled water is a good.

                "I'd have to check to be sure, but I'm fairly certain that Coke Zero is a diueretic, meaning that it overs a negative sum total hydration."

                I think that's true of sodas in general. But the original point stands. I'm buying hydration, not anti-hydration. How is that mock-worthy?

                Sure, I could have had the foresight to realize that I'd be on the bay at five in the PM, and I could have brought a canteen. But then, I could have realized I need to eat for a year and plowed the back forty in the spring...

                 

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                  Dark Helmet (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 12:45pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bottled water is a good.

                  Err, I wasn't mocking. You said "I'm getting a purer form of hydration", and I was suggesting that purer might not be the best word, because water is hydration and Coke Zero isn't at all.

                  Thought you might like the info, is all.

                   

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                    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 4:34pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Bottled water is a good.

                    No, its a fair point. I'm going back to my original one. Why do people feel compelled to bitch about someone getting a Deer Park, when they're likely standing behind someone getting a Coke? Seems to me the latter is even more problematic.

                     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 9:48am

    He Could get them to pay by.....

    He Could get them to pay by adding Value ....

    Dating site
    Porn Site
    Classified / Auction site

    Thats the only way he is going to get people to pay for new in an significant way

    Thanks this place does give me wonderful ideas for my business plan ....

    216 note/entry) Add a section on the site / system for dollar (set your own value) a piece video download and allow porn. Actually have a porn section.

    217) Chat / Blog / News sections for the above

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Thomas, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:09am

    10%

    Ten percent of people will pay for news when other sites do it for free? I don't think so.

    I buy a six pack of bottled water, open one, use it for several weeks, refilling it from my faucet, then recycle it.

     

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    ZR Javelin (profile), Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:20am

    On subject....

    Since this is a debate on paying for news, NOT water - I don't NEED an analogy to understand NOT paying for something I can readily get for free!

    If someone is ALREADY on the internet, how stupid must they be to pay for news content? MSN, CNN, Comcast, et al. all give you enough info on everything for free because they have advertisers to pay them.

    Brill believes the following is a likely comment: "...hey did you hear that journalist/blogger just started charging people to read his opinion? And it only costs pennies a word! What a great deal!...".

    I don't know what internet HE's on, but if I want a paid opinion, I'll hire a lawyer [and I better have done something really, really BAD.]

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:38am

    The news people control the news they have - they can easily both stunt the free stuff (by taking away content or shortening / shrinking / removing depth from the stories) and increase the potential for paying customers by creating good and valid product that is worth the price.

    See WSJ.

    Just setting up a membership / subscriber system and going "there" isn't going to change it, and in reading his comments, I don;t think he is suggesting this either. Sorry Mike, but I think you are reading too much of what you WISH he said into this one.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 1st, 2009 @ 10:48am

    People who buy tea and coffee are stupid too. You can totally make that shit at home for like 1% of the cost. And what about the people who buy dirt? THERE'S DIRT EVERYWHERE! If you don't have any just go steal some from your neighbor's yard. It's not like they're going to notice. "Hold on...where did my dirt go?" And eating out. I mean, eating out costs like twice as much as cooking at home. All those suckers who eat at restaurants are just too lazy to cook.

     

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