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.