ESPN is asking…

Reemer is looking for feedback on ESPN's Insider. I don't subscribe. Reemer wants to know why.

I'm a HUGE sports fan (hey – college football blog & all), yet I don't subscribe to Insider. I can see from my initial visits and the mentions throughout the ESPN.com site that you have good writers and good content. So, why am I not buying into it?

First, there's no indication whatsoever as to what the price is. I see a free trial, but a free trial of what? A dollar? A million? It's probably somewhere in the middle, but which end of the spectrum?

Second, like Ben metions in your comments, I find it really hard to believe that there's just that much more for me on a pay site. I'm not a stats geek, but I could understand that some would pay more for stat details. What Insider seems to offer, is a lot of high profile opinions. I can make my own opinion if I can get enough of the story. Right now I can get the big picture online…free. If you want to sell me someone's opinion, I'm not buying.

Third, some of the services that Insiders receive, I can get elsewhere for free. I'm not in a position to compare the free vs Insider (maybe Insider is better), but…why should I? One is free.

For example, College Sports Television offers me scores & headlines to my mobile at no charge. A second example would be team headlines. Anybody with a Yahoo account can set up a "My Yahoo" search with RSS feeds delivered right to their page. Or, there's Google News. Getting hundreds of local market stories is nice, but it's out there right now…free.

IMHO, users are accustomed to searching to find info. Look at your referrer logs for your blog and I'm sure you'll see some wild ass requests. People are searching – it's what they know & they have a reasonable expectation of what they can find. "Pushing" down something they can easily find won't sell to the web-savvy. I suspect most of your subscribers would fall into the moderately savvy crowd (otherwise why offer the wireless, right?)

Fourth, a lot of the content seems geared towards NFL coverage: draft Insider, scout info, fantasy advice, matchup info. For me, the NFL isn't that big of deal, so I guess it isn't hitting a chord with me.

In my opinion, Insider is focused towards fantasy players. They want the stats. They want the scouting info. I would think that they would be willing to pay a premium for Insider content. Outside of that niche, Insider doesn't seem to offer a lot for the broader market.

So, in a nutshell, I don't see enough in Insider to pony up…however much it costs. If my real interest in college football, hockey, whatever, I want to see up front that even doing the free trial is worth my time.

Maybe if I saw a story on ESPN and knew that there would be some more detail on Insider. I don't know. Right now, I just don't understand what I would get by paying that I don't already have for free. Does that help?

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2 thoughts on “ESPN is asking…”

  1. Kevin, thanks, this is some great feedback.

    One of the biggest challenges we face in the paid content business on the internet is figuring out what makes our product special enough for people to pay for it–for example, part of what makes Insider unique is that all Insiders get ESPN The Magazine with their Insider sub.

    While a lot of what we offer is analysis, which is available for free elsewhere, some of the guys who write for Insider (Chad Ford, for example) are, in my biased opinion, better than anything that can be found for free. Of course, if you're not an NBA fan, you're not going to care much about a guy like Chad Ford.

    But thanks for taking the time to share your insight, Kevin. You've given us some food for thought.

    Kareem

  2. The ESPN The Magazine Subscription is a great benefit. It's a great publication and the writers are better than most of the others out there. But it's really hard to get over that hump. Unless the site offers something that just can't be found elsewhere, I probably won't be a subscriber. And, BTW, how much is it?

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