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Feb 2012 sustainability mls

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Discussion starter from a Knight MLS 2012 discussion of sustainability issues. See http://www.knightfoundation.org/press-room/other/breakout-session-7-experiments-sustainability-whos/

Discussion starter from a Knight MLS 2012 discussion of sustainability issues. See http://www.knightfoundation.org/press-room/other/breakout-session-7-experiments-sustainability-whos/


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  • 1. The  landscape  we’re  in  right  now   Newspapers  &  legacy  media  losing  value   Increasing  number  of  local  “news  deserts”   75%  of  online  ads  go  to  Google  &  FB   CommuniLes  lack  local  voices  to  reflect  who   they  are  &  what  goes  on   2007-­‐2010-­‐-­‐$180M/yr   invested  in  journalism  by   foundaFons   $1.6B/yr  editorial  cuts  by   legacy  newspapers.   Source:  "  The  InformaFon  Needs  of   CommuniFes”,  FCC,  June  2011  ‘The  problem  facing  American  journalism  is  not   fundamentally  an  audience  problem  or  a  credibility   problem.  It  is  a  revenue  problem.”  -­‐Pew  Project  for  Excellence  in   Journalism     1  
  • 2. Local  soluLons  oPen  take  2  forms   Hyper  local  play*   Big  regional  play**   •   Sell  ads  on  a  non-­‐CPM  basis  ($40-­‐ • UnderwriLng,  grants,  donors,   $2500/month)   events,  adverLsing  &  more   • Grants,  ads   •   High  tech  with  apps,  ad  targeLng.   • Market  locaLon,  not  audience   •   Strong  third  party  distribuLon,   • Focus  on  short  form  local  content   oPen  to  print  enLty.     • Keep  staff  minimal  &  producLve   • InvesLgaLve  reporLng.   (1-­‐2  arLcles/day)   • Aggregates  niche  publicaLons   • Typical  revenue  of  $50-­‐100,000  K   • Annual  budget  $60-­‐300,000  K  *Ex:  Barista,  Batavian,  West  SeaXle  Blog   **Ex:  Texas  Tribune,  California  Watch,     Minn  Post   2  
  • 3. Problems  •  The  big  sites  (budgets  of  $2.3-­‐$6MM)  are   oPen  neither  sustainable  OR  typical  •  Smaller  sites  are  niche,  harder  to  evaluate  •  Do  funders  have  criteria  to  evaluate  local   efforts?  •  What  are  realisLc  expectaLons  for  earned   revenue?  BoXom  line:  Thinking  about  sustainability  needs  to  start  day  1   3  
  • 4. Sustainability  quesLons  •  What  aspects  of  this  project  create  the  most   value?  How  can  we  make  money  from  them?  •  Who  can  we  learn  from/copy?  Whose  models   might  work  for  us?  •  What’s  the  revenue  porlolio  to  try  out?.  •  Can  we  try  some  tacLcs  and  afford  to  fail?  •  Do  we  know  how  to  measure  success/failure   in  our  efforts?   4  
  • 5. Ben  Wirz’  formula:  What  is  Minimum  Viable   Product  (MVP?  MVP  =  F(Customer,  Problem,  Time  or  $$$)  •  Focus  on  CUSTOMER   –  QualitaLve  Discovery,  QuanLtaLve  ValidaLon  •  Get  to  know  habits,  problems,  desires  (FUN  MATTERS)   –  what  causes  pain?    what  causes  pleasure?    •  Define  1-­‐5  TESTABLE  Conversion  Metrics  of  Value   –  AXenLon/Usage  (session  Lme,  clicks)   –  Customer  Data  (email,  connect,  profile)   -­‐  Revenue  (direct  or  indirect)   -­‐  RetenLon  (visits  over  Lme,  cohort  behavior)   -­‐  Referral  (users  evangelize  to  other  users)  •  Note:  Paid  SoluLons  drive  FOCUS  (&  pay  rent)     SOURCE:  DAVE  MCCLURE,  500  Startups,  Metrics4Pirates  PresentaLon,  June  2011  
  • 6. Where  are  you  in  this  equaLon?  •  How  do  you  think  about  sustainability?  •  What  do  you  know  to  be  true?  •  What  are  you  quesLoning?  •  What  are  you  funding—or  not  funding?   6