January 17, 2012

Freemium journalism business models, or the Launch of the Spawn of TechCrunch

In case you missed it, Sarah Lacy has launched Pando Daily, aka “Spawn of TechCrunch”. It has a clear mission statement, which she phrased as

the site-of-record for that startup root-system and everything that springs up from it, cycle-after-cycle

and mentor/investor/board member Mike Arrington simply called

to be the paper of record for Silicon Valley

That, I believe, is in the form a journalistic mission statement should take:

But there’s a problem with that template. One would ideally wish a mission statement of the form “We do the best A” to be followed up by “and, obviously, people will pay lots of money for A”. Journalistic mission statements don’t have that nice property.

Fortunately, at least in the case of tech blogging, they do tend to have a nice substitute. Let me explain.

TechCrunch and Pando Daily seem to have the same business plan:

I have an analogous plan for DBMS 2:

Other business models, such as GigaOm’s, would seem to be a hybrid of our two. All are what could be called “freemium” models, even if the other guys (and gals) sell a few ads as well. All seem to work.

Here’s what I think is the non-obvious part of our models:

Different parts of our readership are important for different reasons.

To a first approximation:

I think a lot of successful journalistic (or quasi-journalistic) business models will be similarly layered.


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