The new new media

Here’s a kind of revealing read showing Sifted’s editorial strategy and product positioning. Nothing out of the ordinary for people familiar with how media is done but pretty interesting nonetheless for guys like me, who did this for a living.

Also the fact that they get “hundreds of story pitches every day” indicates that:

i) they have some market validation for their output; 
ii) there’s plenty of value to create outside a copy-pasted press release of “X company has raised X money to do X”, which is pretty much the paradigm of how the English-based tech startup media operates in Europe.

The only little problem in the whole equation is monetization. Give it a year or so for the “new new media” creators wave (podcasts and Substack authors) to consolidate positions and find a consistent pace and we’ll likely see an aggregation of the most prominent ones as independent brands covering tech-related stuff or under umbrellas of traditional media orgs.

Just like it happened 15 years ago with bloggers and podcasters, which at that time were called new media. Buzzfeed, Techcrunch, Business Insider, The Verge - all those “old brands” emerged as extension of or based on bloggers work.

Fun fact: 15-ish years ago I used to run a weekly podcast show about tech startups. I did it for about 18 months, the tech back then was rudimentary but it was fun and nobody would do micropayments like nowadays.

Podcasts ads was even a more difficult case, ad spenders were just starting to get comfortable with terms like CPMs and CPAs and in general there were fewer people on the internet, there was no mobile internet except for Symbian, which was horrible in retrospect, Facebook was starting to get cool, Twitter was an unreliable SMS service, Google had just acquired YT and Instagram and iPhones were not even invented. Being in the loop meant reading online versions of printed papers.

Today we’re 2-3 cycles more advanced and there’s increased evidence of content paying behavior as even some of the new new media already charges. There is a difference though between paying for content to support individuals trying to contribute versus for big media brands covering a space.

But looking at the 12-24 months ahead, I wouldn’t be surprised about an aggregating move to a bundled proposition which will lead to scale and a better off solution for consumers. If you add in the mix the data-based and online event-based content providers, the aggregation need will be even more accentuated as the demand side can’t keep up w/ what the supply is publishing.

Making a business of it will require a solid value proposition backed by a good brand with a correct positioning. Europe is a particular, difficult case - winners will have balls, vision and strong voices but that is what makes the difference in life in general, I guess.

Fwiw, Sifted was launched about 18 months ago and, besides FT’s money and structure, has also some angel backing. What they lack the most is probably a sparring partner.

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