Top1health presents a new business model in web-based media
In the beginning of 2015, Peter Thiel was invited by CommonWealth Magazine for a speech in Taiwan. During the Q&A session, the host asked Perter Thiel’s opinion about the transformation of current media, and Thiel responded: “There are still many good articles in media industry, but without the innovative business model, those articles are getting harder to be published in an appropriate way. ” Thiel did not expressly recommend specific media’s business model, but we can learn from different experiences, such as the newly-launched subscription system promoted by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal to focus on regular and specific readers; or to authorize videos produced by VICE Media to TV stations, or to cooperate with HBO to focus on younger audience. Have you ever wondered whether we have innovative business models in media industry in Taiwan?
“Our new business model design is very “COOL” – Content, Outline, Offline and Link. The stages of our business development are “looking for health”, “asking for heath advices” and “Go(purchasing) health,” said the founder of Top1Health, Chia-Chin Lin. Lin has suffered the gallstones problem for many years, and after suffering from 6 rounds gallstone surgeries, he even sought the “traditional folk therapy” to lessen his pain. Knowing the importance of correct health information from his own experience, Lin created this website to provide such service on health information. For this website’s users, the first stage is “looking for health”, in which it cooperates with doctors, pharmacists and nutritionists. Any health knowledge or information on the website are reviewed and verified by experts.
“Everyone in their lives more or less would face some “health” problems,” said by Yu-Bo Lian, the marketing director of Top1Health, “living in so called world of “dimassified media”, we actually are able to estimate approximate numbers of our users.” Unlike domestic entertainment or industrial information that may not trigger interests for foreigners, “health information” is globalized – information regarding any specific health-related issue is the same among countries. With potential users from all over the world, the next mission for Top1Health is to effectively promote the website. Currently, Top1Health is cooperating with World Journal newspapers and local media from Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and Singapore. Besides the impact of articles on websites, Liao also noticed the recent power of video communication and thus built a team specifically to make innovative videos about health knowledge. For example, they made videos about choosing right foods for health and videos about fitness and exercises.
A New Business Model by Top1Health
According to the Taiwan FDA’s statistic, over 6850 medicine or health products’ advertisements were reported as exaggeration and fined 167 million NTD in total in 2014. From Liao’s observation, an exaggerated advertisement, however, is one of the strategies to obtain the public’s attention but if Top1Health follows this strategy, consumers will eventually lost trust to the media. Therefore, Top1Health is looking for different business model to advertise their website.
The second step is called “ask for health advices”. Over 2700 experts including doctors, pharmacists and nutritionists joined Top1Health to provide online advices to users via the Q&A online forum “5914 Call Doctor” launched in June 2014. Besides, Top1Health also cooperated with LineQ to expand its network with people. Instead of holding health seminar or forum, “5914 Call Doctor” figured a new strategy – promoting its service on App. The App provides not only relevant articles and health Q&A, but also a source to make and check doctor appointments. In other words, users will be able to obtain health knowledge on App, to ask for health or medical advices and to check appointment progress in every clinic in Taiwan so as to find the most suitable clinic from patients’ preferences.
“Go (Purchasing) health” is a more direct service by e-commerce, which is also a common business model for many media. There are various “Made in Taiwan” health products on Top1Health, and Top1Health continues to recruit different kinds of high quality health products into their website. Their goal is to offer customers a forum to purchase various and also safety-guaranteed products. Top1Health’s is planning to enter China’s global e-commerce forum Tmall.HK by relying on e-commerce business model and try to gain more profits by e-commerce than by web’s advertisement.
TV will not disappear
“Almost any kind of media are facing tremendous challenges in the current era, and many people even discussed about the possible death of TV and the era of new digital media,” said Liao, “It is, however, still quite different between TV and web-based media. Audience are still used to absorbing news information and updates from TV news because we can get the first-hand information from TV reports who are only able to arrive at the scene immediately. However, there is no real reporter on web-based media yet. People still rely on TV to get first-hand news despite many Internet resources. On the other hand, due to the growth of AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality) and 3D video technology, more good quality videos were produced nowadays – by then, video media probably will replace the newspaper media. However, TV will never disappear since it is always an effective channel for advertisements.”
As an editor of web-based media, I was wondering why advertisement owners do not fully trust web-based media even though Internet is now a must channel for almost everyone to get information today? Perhaps we should always remember what Peter Thiel said in his speech – web-based media should focus on how to provide a good and systematic service to users. “5914 Call Doctor on Top1Health sets a good example for web-based media to reconsider the innovative business model to offer a high quality media service.