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.

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Comments on “Brill's Pipedream: 10% Of Current News Consumers Will Pay”

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24 Comments
bigpicture says:

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???

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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).

Floyd (profile) says:

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.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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!

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

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?

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

ChurchHatesTucker (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 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…

Hephaestus (profile) says:

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

ZR Javelin (profile) says:

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.]

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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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