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Things I Learnt about Online Media Business Model in Startup Indonesia Ecosystem (Part 3)

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Intersection between media, ecommerce and technology are the things that attract investors.


This is the third part of my writings about the insights and lessons i learnt associated with the online media business model in Indonesia startup’s ecosystem over the last 4 years. You can also read the part 1 and part 2.

  1.  Ecommerce can also behave like a media, there’s a large stron g ecommerce in gadget niche ever told me, lots of brands want to use their channel for advertising, whether its a featured product on the website, promoted on the Facebook, email, Twitter and also the revenue e-commerce got from this kind of advertising is not a little.
  2. Adding a media reader profile features to a media where the fellow readers can send a message to each other, plus some other features are actually (this is not necessarily true, but based in my opinion) can be called “social media”, which mean, as the founder of the media business model, it will be useful if you take time to learn history of the various social networks: what causes Kaskus grow rapidly in the years 2009-2011? Why Friendster lost from FB? What causes Twitter usage entered into mainstream? How Linkedin build influencer blogs which causes their traffic go up drastically? How Myspace compete with FB to pivot into social network content?
  3. Around the year of 2011, i was once talked to Dolly Lesmana, the founder of Marketplus Magz who at thebegining was pretty known for building a great parthership, putting his free magazine on the bluebird group’s cab, and getting a big reach from that. He said, 2-3 months before he launched Marketplusmagzwhat he hid was presenting to –ast least- 20 advertising agency. Im not sure at that time he(Dolly) said “presenting to brand”, because in genereal brand do outsourcing to agency.
  4. Aswin Utomo, founder of Adadiskon, a online media who provides us with discounts information, have girls most of the audience,with 547 tjousands followers in the mean time. Aswin is a very focus founder, ever since he start Adadiskon in the 2010-2011 he only runs a single startup. Aswin said that online media busness is a very difficult business model because ittakes a pretty long time fro creating value. Adadiskon’s business model is to give 1 free discount promotion to a brand or outlet, but if  the brand want to be promoted by Adadiskon more or want tobe campaigned in various Adadiskon’ channel then this brand will have to allocate a budget.
  5. Online media is very close to “community”, since community is the source of cheap content (even free) read: Strategi 3C dari Rekan dan Mentor di Ekosistem Internet Entrepreneurship Indonesia , but like what i told you before, to built traffic and community needs substantial times, time is your enemy, because as the time goes by, your burning rate will keep running, you will keep spending money if you werenot able to monetisize well. Sometimes startup founder need to adopt the “cockroach startup” concept –too small to kill. Take a look at established on 2002, build an office on 2008, law firm on 2009. in 3-4 begining years have only 3-4 people in their team. Including the founder. Kaskus started on 2000, in the period of 2000-2008 Kaskus runs operational almost without any cost (except the cost of the server) because his team only contain 1 person: Andrew Darwis. Read: Lessons Lean Startup.
  6. Remember that huge traffic alone does not mean anything if monetizenya small, there is a partner of mine, who had a great traffic but hard to monetize, if your blog is in Indonesian your revenue from adsense is too small, I suggest to pivot to a women online media (of course the founder should be attached into the niche, or at what niche the network exist?) then also add a e-commerce features.
  7. There was a student came pitching to me “Sir Rein I want to create an online media for overclocking” (overclocking is an activity that improve a computer so that it could perform faster) My advice to him was, “Go to Gramedia, look for the monthly magazine rack, is there any special overclocking monthly magazine in there? If yes, who is the advertiser then wroteit on your note.” The answer was, “there is no special magazine for overclocking.” Means that probably there is no sustain advertiser in the niche so do not rely on monetize from advertising. Another example, once a student want to create a blog / online media about sewing. One way to check whether the niche is large enough for the advertising business model is whether there’re the magazine at Gramedia? If there is none the niche may need to be extended to other related niches.
  8. Startup media founder needs to know the difference between affiliate and advertising business models. Afffiliate is a business model in which you as the media make money only if the advertiser succeed in selling their product. If your media’s traffic still small and you try to see a brand, there is a possibility that if the barand is clever they would say “lets do affiliate?” Or “this month we advertise, but next month let us do affiliate”.
  9. “We See 10,000 Media Business Plans A Year, And Invest In About Ten” - Kata Jim Breyer, Accel Partner’s partner, a well known inventory company in US. This picture us of how tight the business models competition to get funding in US. How about the media in Indonesia? Dailysocial was invested by Merah Putih Incubator and E27 (B-Dash venture), Gamesaku was invested by Appsfoundry and Techinasia, Urbanesia and Makemac invested by Kompas, Talkmen, Speedarchitect, Postaholics invested by Systec, Bachelora and Malesbanget invested by Bakrie. Did i miss something?
  10. Jim Bryer from Accel Partner also said that intersection between media, ecommerce and technology are the things that attract investors. For example, content based commerce is not something unusual, in the front there is content about how to bath the baby, in the back is selling baby milk, a little more clever, we crowdsource the content on the front to some expert and some internal editorial, more clever again, you think most mothers can not and do not have time to write articles, but you want to engage these mothers to generate content, what content do you think can be generated relating mothers with their babies which is not too difficult for the mother? its photo content. You add technology and the coding skills in this idea, make it scale, so that you can make a photo sharing that could be monetisize through e-commerce. For example one 1337accelerator portfolio in Malaysia, Instababy. This is an example of the intersection between media, e-commerce and technology. Well now how would you develop this concept in other niches?


If it to myself, why I founded online media is because I can not coding, i could only write (a skill that a high schooler may have) and I love sharing and teaching, but in between the years of 2009-2012 i was continuely rejected  to teach at the university because i do not have a master degree up untill February 2012 I partnered with Denny Santoso in which he said “well Ren, now you teach to thousands of people at once”.