Three leading business commentators who have defected from Australia’s mainstream press have launched an online business media venture, BusinessSpectator.com.au, which went live yesterday.
Stephen Bartholomeusz, Alan Kohler and Robert Gottliebsen have joined forces with internet publisher and former newspaper editor Eric Beecher to fill a gap in the market for a 24-hour online business news portal, offering free, constantly updated national and global business coverage and in-depth analysis.
Kohler, BusinessSpectator co-founder and editor-in-chief, says the business news and commentary site isn’t a direct competitor with The Australian Financial Review online, afr.com.au, even though they share a similar target market.
Its main competitors, according to Kohler, are BusinessDay, the online business site of broadsheets The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, and the online business arm of News Limited’s national daily The Australian.
Fairfax Business Media’s head of corporate affairs, Bruce Wolpe, welcomes the competition for its metro newspapers, but agrees there would be no impact on afr.com.au, which requires people to subscribe to the newspaper to read online content.
BusinessSpectator plans to be supported by 10 foundation advertisers, six of which have already signed on. For a fixed amount, each advertiser receives a 10% stake in advertising for a six- to nine-month period, irrespective of traffic.
The site will publish about 1000 stories every day, sorted according to industry, and features wire sources including Dow Jones, Reuters, AAP and News Bites. Kohler says they hope to gain 40,000 unique users over the next six months.
Other shareholders include financial journalist James Kirby, and merchant bankers John Wylie and Mark Carnegie who will have no editorial involvement.
* Eric Beecher, a part-owner of The Business Spectator, is also a part-owner of SmartCompany.com.au.