Themarket.ch: "Instead of further noise we offer classification"
Does "TheMarket.ch" really need a new online portal for the financial world?
Yes. The financial markets are incredibly noisy, with news snippets running through the ticker every second. Most existing news portals reproduce this cloud of noise. We will clearly differentiate ourselves from that. The Market is aimed at investors, and we will focus on background, analysis, classification and opinion.
What can visitors expect in terms of content? How often will new content be published?
Our readers can expect three to five content articles per day. As a rule, two of these will be published early in the morning: A so-called focus piece, which is dedicated to a relevant investment theme in an in-depth analysis. This can be a fundamental analysis of a company, or the illumination of an important macroeconomic trend. On certain days, this is complemented by an in-depth interview with an outstanding personality from the world of finance, and on other days by a high-profile opinion piece. During the course of the day, two further texts are usually published that shed light on the background to relevant topics of current interest.
You could read that all your employees had to make a substantial contribution to the company. In addition, the NZZ publishing house took a 40% stake in the company. With which main arguments did you win people over?
There can't be any question of "must". We are a team of seven people - five journalists, one salesman, one product manager - who have come together and founded the company. Together we hold 60% of the shares, so it was also clear that we would inject our own capital. The NZZ Group holds a 40% share.
How exactly does the cooperation between you and the NZZ Group work?
The partnership is very close; this can be seen, for example, in the fact that the CEO of the NZZ Group, Felix Graf, sits on our board of directors. We work closely together in the areas of IT and subscription marketing. The Market, for example, will also be available in NZZ's subscription shop. But editorially we are completely independent.
What does your team look like?
At the beginning we are five journalists, all of whom have more than 15 years of experience in the financial world: Gregor Mast, Sandro Rosa, Ruedi Keller, Christoph Gisiger and myself. Four are in Zurich, Christoph works in California. They are joined by Ruedi Minger and Fabio Pasinetti, an experienced sales manager and a product manager. In May, two more very experienced journalists, Andreas Kälin and Daniel Zulauf, joined the team.
Six of your employees have been recruited by "Finanz und Wirtschaft". Is that also a declaration of war on "FuW"?
Not at all. We are united by the pleasure of implementing a journalistic project with a great deal of entrepreneurial freedom, without the rigid structures of a publishing house that no longer regards journalism as its core business.
You have relied on the pay barrier right from the start. What does the pricing model look like?
And how many subscribers do you need to reach the break-even point?That's right, we work with a hard paywall. Our content has a high analytical content and offers readers clear benefits because it provides decision support on investment issues. The annual subscription costs 348 francs. I cannot give any concrete figures on our business plan.
What role does advertising or "paid content" or "advertorials" play?
To a limited extent, we offer classic display advertising as well as "sponsored content" formats. This also makes The Market a platform that offers financial institutions a distribution channel for their high-quality publications - such as monthly and quarterly outlooks.
At "republik" you have gained experience with the subscriber model. Things are not going so well there. Why will things go better for you?
The Republik and The Market are not comparable in terms of target group and content. By the way, I also think that Republik will do well in the medium term.
As former editor-in-chief of "Finanz und Wirtschaft", you know the financial world very well. What insights do you take away from this time for your new portal?
The most important insight: News is noise. Most of it is irrelevant. In-depth analyses are valuable; high-profile opinions that question supposed truths; original, thought-provoking classifications. Few, high-quality contents are much more valuable than a broad coverage of the news flow.
After all, institutional investors are basically covered with enough information? What added value do you offer them?
A different, independent opinion. Indications of topics and trends that they may not have had on their radar before. Every market participant is confronted with the problem of "biases". This is why an intelligent investor never relies on the house opinion of an individual bank.
Aren't you competing editorially with your shareholder NZZ?
No, the editorial offerings of NZZ-Wirtschaftsress and The Market will complement each other well. Incidentally, anyone with an NZZ subscription can subscribe to The Market at reduced rates.
They recently went online. Was there any feedback from the finance and media industry in advance?
Yes, we received a lot of very good feedback from the financial industry. That is encouraging.
Are there any offers for non-subscribers?
Yes, non-subscribers can also register for our daily newsletter. Subscribers will also receive two exclusive weekly newsletters: "The Big Picture", a review of the general economic climate written by me, and "The Pulse", a look at developments in the tech, biotech and venture capital scene on the US West Coast written by Christoph Gisiger in California.
Which companies/providers from the financial sector are qualified to be considered by you editorially?
All of them. We are independent and do not enter into unilateral commitments.
What are the quantitative milestones (subscribers, advertising revenue, etc.) you are aiming for in the next year or two?
I cannot give details of our business plan. Just this much: we calculate conservatively and on a long-term basis. We are solidly financed.
About the person: Mark Dittli (born 1974), as founder and editor-in-chief, will launch The Market (themarket.ch) online platform in April 2019. He looks back on many years of experience in business and financial journalism, also in leading positions. From 2000 to 2017 he worked for "Finanz und Wirtschaft", five years as a correspondent in New York and the last six years as editor-in-chief. He studied economics in Winterthur and journalism in New York and holds a CFA degree as a certified financial analyst.