The Fetch, founded by Kate Kendall is a weekly, city focused, curated email play with information covering what events are on across the business, tech and creative industries. Whilst the approximate number of subscribers is known to Startup Daily, it was revealed in an off record conversation and therefore we can not publish the number, however it would be suffice to say that the active subscriber base is strong and exceeds most electronic distribution lists of nearly all Australian based business publications, including our own.
The most interesting aspect about this funding is that it is for a media company that deals in email. And if you are to believe the rhetoric most people hate emails. The fact that subscribers were willing to part with cash to continue receiving more email each week to their inbox, is testament to the quality of the content and ongoing engagement from the audience.
Building a media company is a blood sport, full of ‘why the hell am I doing this’ moments. The root cause of that frustration is that your product is never finished, ever. If you are producing a monthly magazine, you are essentially creating a new product every month. When you are producing a daily online publication, you are creating a new product every single day – the content that was worked on yesterday, is irrelevant – it is the ultimate hamster on a running wheel scenario.
In Kendall’s case her product is a weekly one. It lives or dies on people staying subscribed as well as opening the actual email each week and clicking through to links within those emails. That’s a lot of action to expect business folk and entrepreneurs to take, yet The Fetch, thus far has been able to maintain a steady run rate – and most importantly produce high end content that is applicable and engaging to its subscribers. Editorial is the primary focus in every newsletter, and recipients have reiterated this point with their dollars.
This sends a strong message to all new would be media players, to maintain loyalty – the game they need to be playing is content before cash. And if you really need help before you reach the tipping point of being cash positive, readers / listeners / viewers will always support you.
The second message it tells us is that community is vital to success in media. It’s hard for a single media entity to be everything to everybody. The type (medium) of content you are producing seems for the most part to be irrelevant, as long as it is targeted to the demographic that a media startup has attracted in the beginning.
If we use Buzzfeed as an example, we know that the general age group is a younger demographic – around 150 million of them that tune in to the sites content each month. Whilst the media company has built it’s foundations off click bait style, pop culture content – founder Jonah Peretti, as I have said before, has much bigger plans.
So far he has alluded to three major developments that will happen within the BuzzFeed brand. The first is the addition of new content sections – expanding on news and looking at increasing the long form and essay style content. The second is the potential creation of an in-house incubator for media technologies and possibly even some acquisitions of existing media tech companies. The third, and undoubtedly the largest task, is the launch of BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, which is well on its way to developing some of its own original projects.
The target audience remains the same – always. Buzzfeed now has a solid community – and now, that community is able to be monetised through native commercial relationships and by the readership base.
Another example of a company that has built a strong community in the entrepreneur space, through a media startup, is Melbourne based Nathan Chan and his monthly digital magazine Foundr.
Again like The Fetch and other Australian media startups including Tagroom, The Hip Pocket, Woman, Hello Mr, Babyology and our own Startup Daily to name a few focused on content before cash, building product after product, month after month and giving it away for free before any revenue started to flow back through the door.
Right now Foundr Mag has over 8,000 monthly subscribers, after Apple take their revenue cut, Startup Daily estimates that currently revenues for the startup are around the $15,000 a month mark or more. And this is clearly growing as Foundr is currently a top 25 business app at the beginning of each month continuously in its category each time a new issue is released. That figure also does not include any sponsorship or partnership revenue that Chan now has the numbers to be able to go out and actively start seeking.
The media tech space is a fickle beast, once you understand your community however they will let you know exactly what type of commercialised content they will engage with, the types of products or services that they will pay you money for and most importantly whether or not you are worth saving.
In the case of The Fetch, the people have spoken.