4.5. Content delivery processes
TOL has constructed an e mail promotion database with over 20,000 entries,
resulting in the registration of over 8,200 subscribers (paid, trial, and free). By
December 2000, TOL s website had over 75,000 visits per month, generating over
100,000 individual page views and nearly 1,000,000 "hits."
During interviews with TOL staff, it was revealed that the gathering of
data/demographics from the audience is very tricky . "On one hand you want to
have as much information as possible. But asking for too much information can be
very unproductive. If the subscription form is not simple, short and easy to use
people lie or do not fill it in. There is a fine balance between asking too little that
you can not use and asking too much which will turn people away."
TOL also shares contacts and information with leading local and international NGOs,
foundations, and Internet and print media. TOL s promotional partners have helped
them locate free subscribers from the post communist region and TOL s partners
have benefited from exposure to their extensive international and highly educated
readership. For a list of TOL s partners, please see: http://www.TOL.cz/sponpart/
Regarding their content delivery process, TOL plans to start producing more and
more newsletters and charge subscription fees for some of them. "We will soon
increase our customization. We will be producing different newsletters for
Academics, journalists or other media, NGOs, International organizations,
businesses, and in different languages." They believe that in the near future news
websites like theirs will produce dozens of different specialized newsletters. "And we
might see email advertisements in these newsletters."
On the other hand, the publications manager of TOL stress the fact that we need to
be careful when we are talking about technical freedoms of web based media,
especially when it comes down to the delivery processes. "We think that we have
total freedom but we don t. I design the page in such a way in order in order to be
easy to use but also fast to download. It is especially important is not to have a very
heavy front page. Because there are people who want to enter your website to
download just one article. My benchmark is a 28,000 bytes modem. If someone with
a modem with this speed can easily use our website."
4.6. Conclusions and future visions
According to the TOL editor, "In this industry of news start ups you need to move
extremely fast. And this has its immense and unique managerial difficulties. We
have to build something new for our clients and donors every time, to grow faster
and faster than we can afford. The speed is so fast that we stretch human and
technical resources to their limits. And collaboration becomes so difficult to manage"
"The working environment is very dynamic, but also very fluid. That is why in web
based news organizations you have very high staff turnover."
The development of the human resources of a news start up is another area of great
concern. According to TOL s editor, while you grow as a start up company you should
be very careful. You should first reinforce the content department, then reinforce the