I attended the event Media Evolution in Malmö this week, which was a great event with the theme “Free”. The theme was of course choosen because Chris Anderson, acclaimed author of The Long Tail and the upcoming Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business as well as editor in chief of Wired Magazine, held a keynote on the topic. As with the theory of the long tail, what he produces are observations rather than predictions.
Chris’ keynote and the subsequential panel discussion with people from Swedish media industry, entrepreneurs and artists was very interesting and provided a lot of inspiration. Chris Andersons theory of free and freemium is full of opportunities for companies like Twingly.
One of the things Chris talked about most was freemium as business model. Give away 99% of your service and only charge for 1%. Examples of this are Ning, Flickr, Spotify and to some extent Twingly as well. Services that are mostly free but have PRO-services for users with. An example he talked about is online games like World of Warcraft and Second Life. The players that don’t have time to earn “money” in the game for free by doing tasks could buy it instead.
Like you probably have noticed, there’s no advertising at Twingly.com today and the service is free for anybody to use. Instead of monetizing Twingly.com directly we provide enterprise products. In that sense we employ a freemium business model.
Chris Anderson stated regarding newspapers that “what you pay for is not the words but the packaging”. Which certainly is one way to look at it. The problem is that most newspapers still havent found an efficient packagaging of their product on the web. Notable exceptions exist, but personally I think this is true and that RSS-readers, social media and ending of the print version just are small parts of the solution. But they’re important and with some more innovation we might see newspapers find their place on the web. They will not die, but need to change their business models a lot. Most of our customers are newspapers and part of our mission is to provide tools for them to stay on the leading edge of innovation on the web.
More: Eirikso, What’s Next, Detective Marketing and Bambuser.