This is a part of our series ‘Digital Ideas For Media In India‘ series
Entrepreneurial Journalism Media
The way a law firm functions, on the basis of my limited understanding of it, is that each partner brings a set of clients and/or resources to the business. He gets a profit share. Now while that may be difficult to implement in a media business in India, with a private limited enterprise, how about a structure, where each journalist brings a certain vertical-specific editorial capability to the venture, and be a part-owner of the business?
Take ten verticals, and one journalist to lead each vertical. Each is a private limited company, with a part of the stake (majority) held by a holding company, and the rest by the journalist. The holding company takes care of the business end of things – it runs product development, IT, sales, marketing, HR and Finance (as a firm to whom business has been outsourced), while the individual entities do content.
Ownership gives the journalist, I hope, the entrepreneurial drive to build the content out, while the separation between business and editorial helps maintain distance, I assume, between business and editorial. The success, of course, depends entirely on the ability to build a set of strong content verticals, and the specialization in verticals allows media businesses to have more depth than a general publication.
This idea isn’t entirely mine – it has evolved during the course of conversations when I was looking for ideas on how to build out MediaNama as a bootstrapped business in multiple verticals, before we launched. We’ve decided, for the time being, to stick to verticals related to digital media and telecom, but I still believe that a collection of 10-15 strong vertical sites can serve readers much better than a horizontal (or multi-vertical) media business. Again, there are practical issues involved, not in the least of which, is journalistic egos, and the need to maintain very very strong ethical standards, and community participation in the business.
P.s.: If you have digital media ideas to give away – mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put them up. Why give the idea away?