Monday, February 19, 2007

Introducing an almost smart new company

Smart Company is the newest kid on the digital publishing block. Backed by Eric Beecher's Private Media Partners, The Oz reports the business employs 10 staff, including a number of former BRW journalists led by publisher and co-owner Amanda Gome.

Actually, they are just about all former BRW journalists. There's been a veritable exodus from the magazine.

It's an interesting venture. I hope it does well. But I'm sort of scratching my head about their approach. According to The Oz the "investors spent less than $1 million creating Smartcompany and it is believed to have already turned cash-flow positive".

Why go down the subscription route, though? It just smacks of desperation and makes building the brand that much harder to do.

They've got a bunch of expensive journos and other infrastructure to support - they list 26 people on their masthead. OK, some are contributors, but that's still a lot of people.

It's not that dissimilar to the number of staff that used to run Shares and Personal Investor magazines. So it doesn't seem like a particularly good use of resources in today's online environment. It's the same old model - subscription based, inhouse produced, display ad driven.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's an honourable effort. But that's about it.

You could do so much more with a progressive, Web 3.0 style publishing operation for an SME and entrepreneurial audience.

2 comments:

Campbell Corser said...

Just a bit of an update. SmartCompany.com.au is now free with no subscription model. This change happened on May 17th, 2007. We have received some great feedback in response to the change.

Campbell Corser
SmartCompany.com.au

hm said...

Cool. That makes it a new regular on my reading list.