|Manuel Benito Ingelmo. Photo by Villanueva.edu|
"I wanted to make the jump to a digital publication but I did not want to do the same thing as we were doing on paper."
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So when he was laid off from a small daily in 2012, he took his severance package and began to experiment with how to take advantage of the strengths of digital media -- interactivity, instantaneous publication, potential massive audience -- to create a journalistic product or service that would build on databases that were already available.
He and a handful of partners started out by giving away simple graphics on unemployment to media organizations. His idea was that these organizations could use these graphics instead of stock photos of people in unemployment lines. "In just two or three months, we reached 100 media organizations throughout Spain. We found that there was a market niche, the possibility to sell something. Then we had the problem of how much to charge for the service."
The partners decided to offer media organizations subscriptions to a simple tool that they could use to create their own graphics quickly, with data specific to their province or town, culled from government databases. They called the service Porcentual. They did not want to compete with the big newsrooms that had their own graphic artists and data visualization specialists. Rather they offered their service to television stations and print media that wanted something visually different to illustrate their stories.
In the first years, Benito Ingelmo and his partners invested €12.000 (about US$13,400) to develop the business. He worked from home; his wife's job and income were a big help.
|For the clients of Porcentual, one of the benefits is graphics that are updated minute by minute, in this case election results.|
In the first nine months of 2015, Porcentual has already generated 170% more revenue than it did in all of 2014, Benito Ingelmo said. He did not want specific figures published, but he and one of the partners are collecting a salary and contract with programmers to build the digital tools.
Subscription rates are based on the number of views that each graphic receives in the client's website or app, as tracked by analytics. Sixty percent of the clients are paying €120 a quarter (US$135) for 50,000 views. In the top category, 20% are paying €150 a quarter (US$170) for 100,000 views. For some clients with greater traffic numbers, he negotiates special rates, which of course are higher.
Graphics tailored to local audiences
|Porcentual's graphic of Sept. 27 election results in Cadaques.|
On election night Sept. 27, Porcentual's graphics received more than 3 million views, Benito Ingelmo said.
More clients, lower rates
For other journalists who want to create their own media, Benito Ingelmo, 41, offers this advice:
"You have to understand your market and who your client is." For him, the clients are intermediaries, such as business groups and news media. "You have to understand the niche and minimize costs. You have to look for synergies."
He believes that the best business model is one that has many clients paying lower rates rather than a few clients paying higher rates. With the latter model, "when the day comes that you lose a client, it's a disaster. We put our confidence in the model of micropayments."
"Not everybody can be Bill Gates," he added. "But between Bill Gates and failure, there are lots of possibilities for earning a decent living."
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