Monthly Archives: March 2009

A solution for the broken advertising model in media?

BabyworldI really enjoyed SIPA‘s Online Marketing conference yesterday. We had sessions covering social media, developing online stores, best practice e-mail marketing, monetising online communities, mobile, video & podcasting. Thanks very much to the speakers from Electric Word, AI Digital, E-Consultancy, Nature, Magicalia, Incisive Media, Communicator, Euromoney & Babyworld.

While all the presentations were great the one session which got me thinking most was from Chris Blake, the Chairman of Chris highlighted some of the history of Babyworld from a launch in 1998 with £750K of seed capital to the sale one year later to Freeserve for £3.7m and the subsequent re-purchase in 2004 for £1. It was a great story.

The site is a direct rival of other parenting publications like Mother & Baby (published by Bauer). Mother & Baby has a circulation of just over 50,000 print copies & 166,000 unique users. By contrast Babyworld is generating nearly 560,000 uniques per month.

While Babyworld is operating like many other specialist media sites – publishing guides, news, reviews & forums for new parents – the really interesting thing that they are doing is operating as a full retail outlet. Not just acting as an affiliate but taking orders, stocking and despatching goods.

From their base in Oxfordshire Chris and his team run a warehouse and shop with stocks of buggies, car seats, clothing etc. They take advertising as well but from the figures shared it looked like they were generating over 70% of their revenue from the direct sale of goods.

Now this is interesting on a load of different levels. It harks back to a previous post I made about the commercial future for newspapers that were successful in driving a lot of traffic but were not able to monetise that traffic effectively. Maybe publishers need to start looking at their business from a very different perspective and, if we believe that the advertising model is broken, consider retail?



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SIPA online marketing event tomorrow, 24th March, London

Another quick plug for a great SIPA event in London tomorrow. 

Full programme.

Come along – there are still a few places free.

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The greatest week of the year

The Cheltenham FestivalIt’s the Cheltenham Festival this week – the real start of the year. I’ll be there Thursday & Friday if anyone’s around. Can’t wait.

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