Evan Schwartz's new book <cite> Webonomics </cite> says that, like cable
television, people will be willing to subscribe for only 3 or 4 of these
"premium" channels, at most.
He speculates those will be Wall Street Journal, ESPN Sportzone,
Pathfinder, and possibly Playboy, the New York Times, and possibly
some travel magazine.
Furthermore, financial sites like WSJ, Forbes, the Schwab newsletter,
etc. have a much better chance of getting people to fork over money for
the online versions. Hotwired and Slate, for example, could NEVER get
100,000 paying customers. Not at $29/$49 a pop, at least.
Anyway, I highly recommend the book - it's chock full o' bits. For
example, Rick Fernandes, exec vp of CUC International (they do $1
billion annual business selling $50 memberships to a wholesaler ring),
it only takes a 5% swing in revenue to bring a retail giant to its knees
(which explains the recent bankrupt filings for Caldor and Bradlees).
Of course, online shopping has a long way to go before it captures 5% of
the retail industrial complex - according to Forrester Research, online
sales will be $1 billion in 1997, growing to $6.6 billion in 2000
(less than 1% of the $1.7 trillion US retail economy).
Meanwhile, Jupiter Communications projects that the number of US
consumers regularly shopping on the Internet will approach 4.5 million
by the year 2000.
ROUGHLY THREE PERCENT OF THE ADULT POPULATION. Ah, validation...
How to make use of a useless degree: this book is for the other 97% of us.
-- Andrew Frothingham, _Finding Your Place in the Postmodern Economy_,
Berkley books, 1997