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May 06, 2010


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Nick Gogerty

um.. don't forget the business drivers. Finance metrics are outputs. To really understand a media business one has to get at the human behavioural inputs. Why does a person invest time in this and why will they do so in the future?

cities with 1-2 major papers reflected a desire for a shared voice and "relationship" with readers, editorial function in a limited media world. Newsweek doesn't have a unified voice or clear quality differentiator, it has hard for a reader to form a relationship with it.

I would look at average time a user invests in engaging with a piece of media and what they get out of it. That relationship lock-in will tell you about stickiness and the behavioral business moat. It will also tell you when it is time to move on due to someone or something performing that function better. Using only financials misses a lot of the picture in the value creation and moatishness of a business.

I have read the economist for 17 years, will hopefully do so for 50 more. :)

Wide Moat

Very interesting topic and original analysis--thank you.

I suspect that the revs/journalist man-hour is a better tool for predicting the business success of a periodical than user time. In the case of "US Weekly," I perceive that the user time is quite low, particularly compared to "Time." Does anyone spend more than 30 minutes on an issue of "US Weekly?"

Yet apparently, both are profitable.

I suspect the audiences of each don't overlap much. If the US Weekly reader wants celebrity gossip, the Time reader wants a narrative, longer form, and some mildly counter-intuitive worldly insights. A mag can sate the former in less than five minutes, the latter less so.

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