Tuesday, November 9, 2010

John Miller: "You Learn Things Quickly When You do a Start-up. Or You Fail."

The Philadelphia Sports Daily wants to serve the obsessed Philly sports fan who is killing time at work.

Their audience watched the game (live or on television), said John Miller, a former broadcast journalist, longtime PR handler and the host of the pre and post-game Eagles shows on WYSP.

Their audience knows the scores and stats. What PSD provides is the off-the-field stuff.

"Games are almost incidental," Miller said. "Games are mile markers along the way."

Miller wants to have a staff of 20 at some point, and he aspires to cover more than just the pro teams. At this point, however, there are really only 2 people working on the site steadily, with two others contributing frequently and a handful of others helping out. They post around 15 stories per day, mostly in just text or podcast. At this point, there is no video and images are not given large display.

They have spent very little promoting the site. Instead, they leak info to other sites via email, text, facebook or whatever and then hope that those other sites send them traffic.

One of Miller's "writers" is Eagles rookie Nate Allen. Allen receives payment for his column, which is actually dictated to PSD's Eagles beat writer. Stephen Whyno is the editor of the site. Stephen A. Smith serves as a columnist.

Miller considered using gambling as a revenue stream for the site. He also thought about ads from gentlemen's clubs. Instead, he's looking at several different streams:

• Traditional advertising.
• Premium memberships, where members will be given access to events and speakers.
• He's negotiating a deal with a legacy media operation for content.
• He's negotiating a deal with Chickie's & Pete's to do content for their site.
• Sponsored content (like Nate Allen's Rookie Diary).
• Ticket re-selling.

Among the challenges he has faced:

• Many of the pro teams will not give his staff press credentials as PSD is considered an "unafilliated website."
• Finding the right people who handle advertising at companies has been difficult.
• The investment community doesn't understand content, he said.
• The legacy media companies he has spoken with want his content for free.

In the future, he wants the site to include video. And good video, not like the talking-head reporters appearing on philly.com ("Those videos look like hostage tapes," Miller said). He wants to change the overall appearance of the site so that it looks more like Politico. And they may try to get more user-generated content.

Miller thinks that the media market here can support numerous sites covering sports. And he thinks that his site will do well because it's not hampered by bureaucracy. They can change quickly as needed.

"You learn things quickly when you do a start-up," Miller said. "Or you fail."

1 comment:

  1. One other detail I forgot to mention:

    John Miller said that Crossing Broad was created as a Roy Halladay facebook fan page. It grew a legion of fans who Kyle Scott then transferred to his website (Crossing Broad).

    Pretty amazing world we live in, eh?