For the first few years, we must grow slowly, become good at our tasks, and learn the market.
Lean marketing is key.
Saving the news is a big push. We need a great team to win big, since others can copy us. It is risky enough, in a few ways, that we don’t expect a lot of startups. Angel.com shows 400 media startups in a decade, so that is not a giant sector. Only a handful are as ambitious as we are.
Some guesses: the largest firms will not be pushed out.
But we do not compete with the social media sites, who are ad-based.
The digital ad market is changing rapidly. Apple and Google are both moving away from cookies, which have been at the core of targeted ads. This may be a main reason that Twitter and Meta/Facebook are seeing share price drops.
If privacy offers become big in online content, then we are seeking the heart of that market.
Since we do not work closely with ads, we need to try new models there. We move content to new sites – can it be paired with ads, without knowing the reader? This was the heart of ads for many decades.
In talking this over, a big idea is to think of content as fiction vs. non-fiction. If we think of arts and entertainment as “fiction” that may be an ideal entry market. We can avoid the controversies of politics and religious-politics, and left vs. right. At first.
Dilbert in my emails has ads with it. Digital comics is an entry market. If we can get 5% of that revenue we are in the low millions.
Comics for college newspapers is a possible entry product. (They may be approachable, if the price is very low. In my first content-sorting startup, we wanted to recommend books. We had a Letter of Intent from the UC Berkeley Alumni, in our best weeks.)
College newspaper and alumni associations are not giant markets. They both have limited budgets for such things. But could we donate some or all of our services, just to get started? We do need rich user data. Gathering comic strips feedback gives us some emotional and cultural data, which we think is strong.
Being a marketplace where new content means new subscribers is possible, especially if they use our site to get the subs. So we benefit from packaging a few sources, since we will offer this package. Still, the biggest hope may be donations. We would love to see the giants, who are fighting to win trust, donate to us, and maybe buy a few shares (though under half of course, based on our nonprofit-as-key-owner model).
It is a win big or fade away market.
Much lean marketing needs to be done, to know what is possible.