Why Business Insider Australia Should Be A Separate Brand

Business Insider is a light hearted, not to be taken seriously business news and content aggregator. It’s inhabited by an awful lot of clickbait headlines and slideshows like Hot Hedge Fund Wives, but amongst the social sharing trap content, there’s also a small amount of really valuable content.

I wrote a while back about how localisation of international websites is stupid – we visit the FT for UK news, the WSJ for US news, Business Insider for a US perspective on business news. Please, stop making me have to register for accounts or use a VPN in order to get the content I actually want.

Business Insider Australia sucks. I’m not even going to link to it. Business Insider (The Real One) just redesigned their site and it looks a lot better. Crikey is behind a paywall, the SMH and The Age are going behind a paywall for more than 10 articles a month that is not worth it and the partner sites in Australia are the sort of stuff that people want to read – rubbish.

In terms of economics, why do firms choose to provide localised content? I can think of the following reasons:

  • price discrimination amongst advertisers – US ads cost more, Asia ads cost less
  • clear delineation of target market related content – do US readers care about David Jones’ latest collection or Nathan Tinkler’s woes?
  • increasing the value of Business Insider by being able to tell investors “We now have a stand alone presence in Australia – a major Western media market”
  • analytics told them that the amount of traffic from Australia was high enough to justify the investment in localised content

Anyway, despite their reasoning, I think they’d have been better off creating a new brand for their Australian subsidiary. The first few months of a content aggregator are important – you set the tone – and I’m not impressed so far.

I’d consider myself a super-consumer of business news. I’m very impressed with what Reuters are doing with their redesign that focuses on streams of content as opposed to their current site.

I know that their product is controversial, but there’s definitely demand for that sort of content and like it or not, that seems to be where business news is headed. Quartz, a project of The Atlantic, sprinkles in sponsored content every couple of posts from a handful of sponsors.

The launch of Buzzfeed Business has probably provided some sense of urgency at Business Insider. They have their own content management system so probably have a hard time upgrading the site’s look, but they’ve done a reasonable job. It’s nothing compared to the “new” USA Today, but it’s a step in the right direction.

After exams are over I’m going to work through the Marginal Revolution course on media economics. I need to learn more about the economics of media, because when some sites are doing really well with their strategy, I consistently see things that I don’t understand the reasoning behind.