AOL kingpin and Washington Capitols owner Ted Leonsis provides a 10-point plan on how he would fix Dow Jones (DJ) had he bought it–which he presumably could have. With the exception of the WSJ, Leonsis describes the project as “a restart.” Many of his ideas are excellent:
1. Build the audience to scale. Drop all subscription efforts on the Internet and go to free from paid as a model. Re-purpose marketing efforts from paid sub sales to free sign-up and to syndication. Make widgets out of all of the services and embed them everywhere. Aim for 100 million unique global visitors to all sites and content areas within five years. utilise the MySpace platform for fast syndication. Get into China and India as developing economies ASAP on the shoulders of MySpace distribution. Create pod shows of all main segments. Create, own and operate an internet radio/audio service for mobile. Be everywhere — free and fast.
2. Create an interactive financial services network as hub. Embrace all third party news organisations and embed their work in the network. Embrace the financial bloggers to drive traffic to and from each other to make a standalone network to create presence and ubiquity. This linking to and from will also move the content up high in search results resulting in more traffic. Become the “Yahoo-like portal” of financial services. Superset the industry and all brands and be the majority partner in this new network. This is the keystone new business model; the CPM, CPA and CPC model will yield higher rates as this audience will be choice and of very high value…
3. Be needed by consumers. Create and launch a utility service killer application. Create a daily financial services payment and investment platform. Acquire a software-based consumer services company and re-brand it to get into the wallets of the consumer. Have a real world highly scalable consumer platform. Consumers buy services, generate page views and then buy the services of the main advertisers of Dow Jones. Creating a consumer feeder service is also very important at this point in time as is getting the consumer voice and opinion into the network so it will generate lots of page views and interest in the network as well.
4. Help launch a news portal. Work with the top 20 big city newspapers to create a news portal and be a minority investor in that business and an affiliate but be the primary financial news provider to the uber news brand. This would help get all newspapers online in a coordinated fashion and create a hub and spoke system for traffic, up selling and generating page views and impressions.
5. Make a money machine. Acquire a third party ad reseller and morph it into a business and financial services vertical network. The industry is ready for a big vertical ad network. Dow Jones should lead here and be the ingestion engine and reseller for all inventory related to financial news.
6. Develop a social network for financial services providers and vendors. Think MySpace of financial services utilising the MySpace platform but organised by Dow Jones segments and monitored for business. Work with an instant message provider to get onto desktops within companies to have a “push” kind of platform for news delivery and a coordinated way to communicate to vendors or investors, etc.
7. “Verticalize” search. Develop the first vertical search engine optimised for business. Extend model to interactive Wiki-like knowledge bases moderated by experts in business and finance and monitored by editors. Be the connective tissue between algorithms and smart people for financial news and related services.
8. Launch a “CNBC” like video network but on broadband. Go for scale instead of working to get carriage deals with MSO’s. Make it global from day one and work with partners at DirecTV for cross promotion. Get the network embedded everywhere. Share in the revenues when you get distribution.
9. Launch a business shopping network. It is amazing to me that small business and corporate purchasers don’t have a 24-hour network to connect with vendors to see their new products and services so they can make purchases in a more efficient fashion. Launch it on DirecTV and then go to the broadband web. Ingest and superset all third party sites today. Think “HSN meets Amazon.com” for business services and financial services.
10. Be a disruptor and not a reactor. Go after all paid service competitors by offering higher quality services but for FREE. Take the long view that business and financial services in developing economies are the universal language. Become the brand and service of record for all consumers and developing businesses on a global basis in all formats: 1) Mobile 2) TV 3) Internet PC. Build out country by country affiliates for a networked economy portal so that the brand and services become hub and spoke and ubiquitous.