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The Hobonichi Business Model

- A profitable web media with no advertisement or subscription revenue

Presented at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan, October 2015

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The Hobonichi Business Model

  1. 1. Good morning! I’m Makiko Shinoda.
  2. 2. Our business: Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun • Run the website “Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun” (Hobonichi) • New content every single day for over 17 years, since June 1998 • 1.3 million visits per month • Generate revenue by developing and selling lifestyle goods via e-commerce within own website • Sales breakdown merchandise 90%; publishing 5%; shipping&handling 5% (no ad revenue) 2
  3. 3. Who is Shigesato Itoi? • Copywriter • Lyricist • Essayist • TV personality • Game designer • Editor in Chief, Hobo Nikkan Itoi Shimbun
  4. 4. WHAT WE DO
  5. 5. ほぼ日手帳 Hobonichi Techo 14 550 thousand copies in 2015 #1 at Loft
  6. 6. Hobonichi Techo is going global. Over 30 thousand copies, 82 countries.
  7. 7. International users on Facebook, Instagram, and Weibo
  8. 8. HOW WE DO IT
  9. 9. 「まず銀座通りをつくる。 そうしたら、 自動販売機を置いても 稼げる」 First, create a Ginza. Then we can make money even with a vending machine.
  10. 10. 読み物も商品もコンテンツ。 Content can be an article or a product.
  11. 11. High willingness to pay Long-term profitability No sponsors Free content, no sign-up New posts every day Enjoyment of everyday life Flexibility in content theme and format Large, diverse readership Three Rings of Creativity Trust Internet
  12. 12. Three Rings of Creativity Motivation Articulation Congregation Society
  14. 14. Our perspectives Understand fundamental nature of people that is constant throughout history Embrace both the goodness and weaknesses of human nature, and aspire to be good 『インターネット的』 “Internetty” Flat, Link, Share History Human nature Society
  15. 15. うちの土鍋シリーズ 「ベア1号」 Clay pot
  16. 16. 『インターネット的』 “Internetty,” 2001 • Flat ⇆ Hierarchy • Link ⇆ Compartmentalize • Share ⇆ Monopolize
  17. 17. Our approach to marketing Conventional approach • What do they want? – End users – Channel – Other departments, your boss… • Most advanced, supreme, ultimate • Who is the target segment? • PR is an afterthought. Our approach • What do we, the consumer, really want? • Is this the best among the standard? • Would someone from the 15th century like this? • Would people want to talk about this? Is it fun? Target “them” and improve the odds. Manipulative – “they can’t tell” Start from “me” and dig deep to approach universality. Respect and trust the average consumer.
  18. 18. Hierarchy… is toppled… and becomes a ship
  19. 19. Office seating arrangements by lottery
  20. 20. Other sharing mechanisms • Share philosophies and decisions • Wednesday meetings • Weekly planning meeting • Be open, be seen • cc: All • All customer e- mail is forwarded to everyone
  21. 21. 糸井事務所が目指すもの 「ほぼ日」がどうしていくかについては、いつも同じです。 「人(=じぶん)がうれしいことって、どういうことか」 とにかくこればっかりを、しつこく考えることです。 逆の言い方でもいいんですよ、 「じぶん(=人)がうれしいことって、どういうことか」 たぶん、これがぼくらの最大で、唯一の仕事ですから。 ー『今日のダーリン』より
  22. 22. Our aspiration What Hobonichi should do stays the same. “What is it that brings people (=me) joy?” Just think through this, single-mindedly, persistently. We can turn it the other way around, you know. “What is it that brings me (=people) joy?” This, I think, is the most important and only work to be done. --Today’s Darling
  23. 23. Who we aspire to be やさしく be good つよく be strong おもしろく be fun
  24. 24. Thank you!