atans1

“Idiots”, “Indians” no more

In Uncategorized on 04/11/2017 at 1:21 pm

Well it seems TISG has changed.

This is a pretty good analysis by the publisher of TISG. But note that he didn’t talk of TISG. My bet is that it’ll close soon because it’s been cleaning up its act and going to a sanitised place where the eyeballs of anti-PAP cybernuts no longer follow it. Tired of being invited to Lim Kopi?

But then maybe being PAP loudhailer for paid-off? TISG: “useful loudhailer” for PAP administration

Whatever, pretty good stuff

good journalism is only good as a vanity metric, it is both subjective and unquantifiable. I am not even sure if it can be defined as a product that can be differentiated in a highly competitive marketplace. As a business, it is not defensible.

In this business, there is no customer lock in. People read what they want to read and often read news that comes in their social media feeds. Even the 30% die-hard opposition supporters read the main-stream media – they share articles widely about how the MSM is so biased and in the process making MSM more entrenched. Let’s not forget, ST has more followers that all the alternate media combined.

Secondly, readers’ preferences about what they read changes over time and it is difficult for a small media outfit to monitor the changes in reader habits. Besides, a one trick pony that only attracts a certain kind of readers is poorly equipped to monitor the changing trends in the space.

Therein lies their business dilemma, growing out of their niche would be difficult as it would offend their initial customer segment and their need for good well-argued pieces.  They also brought on subscribers on the basis of good journalism, though very little, it is a market that they couldn’t forsake till now.

Paywall is a death trap

Nobody owes anybody a living and if you’re going out there to raise funds to bankroll your operations, you’ll soon find that you have few friends. Subscribers are finicky – they want good service, they want a certain number of articles to be published each day, expect constant uptime of servers and all these cost monies and you need truckloads of them.

Unless you have a well-oiled machine, you’ll soon realise that you cannot deliver on your promises as you will need to juggle between running a good sales team on top of a good editorial team. A major, if not impossible undertaking for a startup.

Long verbose articles do not sit well in a mobile device. People’s attention span is too short to go through long pieces. Singapore’s market of 2.3M readers and to target a niche segment of the total addressable market is really a death trap.

There are few contenders that’ll probably cover this segment and it could very well be TODAY and ST –  it is easy to dismiss them as old media houses languishing in the digital age or that their pro-government Pyongyang styled media is completely out of touch, I would argue otherwise.

Recently, both TODAY and ST have published articles that are critical of the government and these pieces are shared widely by anti-establishment activists. They probably were on TMG’s heals to chip away the little market share she had.

All three, TMG, 66N and IQ managed to raise seed capital to launch their sites, yet they failed to scale their startups and there is a valuable lesson here for any startup founder – never put the cart before the horse. Only raise funds when you have a sure-fire way of sustaining the business.

The fundamental question we need to ask, is there really a market for middle-of-the-road, well-balanced, neither here-nor-there, running on the road divider kind of publication? Perhaps not, so, let’s not beat ourselves over it, though it’s sorely missed!

RIP TMG.

http://www.theindependent.sg/tmgs-better-mouse-trap/

Related post: Atas website closing

 

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