Thursday, November 06, 2008


For a while now I've been searching far and wide for any kind of data that shows whether or not the monetization of video online, particularly by independent producers, is a sustainable and scalable business, but much to my chagrin it's been hard to come by. I guess it shouldn't be much of a surprise since the reality is that there really isn't any data out there that is compelling enough to make us all believers in this business.

Sure - there's a ton of information out there about traffic, video views, engagment, etc. - but that's all window dressing for the most part. What I want to know is pretty simple -- how is making money and how much.

I recently got some good intel from a small company (who shall remain nameless) that proclaims itself as one of the largest and most popular online video producers. In business for a little over 2 years with a total investment of about $1 million, this company recently surpassed 30 million videos served -- a great accomplishment to be sure. When asked how much revenue these 30+ million videos have generated, the answer was . . . . $500,000. This revenue has been generated through a combination of ad sales on its own site(s), rev share deals with its syndication partners and licensing deals with third parties who pay for access to this company's video library.

Doing the back-of-the-napkin math, and ignoring the licensing apsect of their business, the unofficial eCPM here is $15. And knowing how lean this company runs (including not having a fully built out internal sales force), this is a respectable accomplishment. But looking at it another way, the revenue does seem like a drop in the bucket when compared to the enormous volume of video views that have been generated. Also, the reality with this company is that the lion's share of their revenue to date is generated from the licensing side of their business, as they say that they're only now starting to generate revenue from advertising, and the CPM's on that side of the equation are "in the single digits."

So the question is -- is it possible to be wildly successful as an independent producer of online video content?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The news of Joost's move from desktop application to Flash-based web offering isn't causing all that much of a stir because, well . . . they're comin' to the party at the stroke of midnight - and we all know what happened to Sleeping Beauty!

As one of the early beta users of their desktop product, I quickly gave up using it because of the sheer number of issues I was having with it - from logging in to accessing and watching videos. And as a member of their database, I would have expected to get periodic emails keeping me updated about all the goings on there. The one saving grace is that my user name and password still work on the site -- but it's not really gonna do me much good 'cause I don't plan to visit Joost all that often going forward. Is the content really all that different than what we've been consuming from other sites (YouTube, Hulu, etc.) for over a year now? If it is, it sure wasn't obvious to me.

So my prediction is that Joost won't last through next year - or if it does it won't even come close to being profitable. If only I had $45 million to play with, I could pretty much guarantee that I'd be able to build a profitable business. Open checkbook anyone?!

Friday, October 10, 2008


So by now the news of Sequoia Capital ringing the alarm bell about the severity of market conditions and what that means for start-ups has spread like wildfire around the blogosphereand the follow-up commentary from both bloggers and readers is coming on fast and furious -- can't you just hear the keystrokes?!

As someone who was fortunate (or unfortunate!) enough to be part of the roller coaster ride that was the original Internet bubble, I can tell you that this definitely feels like deja vu all over again -- except that now there seems to be even more fear and loathing of what's to come, if for no other reason than because of the proliferation of blogs, forums and other digital media that helps spread the doomsday message. We're living in an age of the virtual water cooler except unlike the first go-around, where most of the chatter was happening between and among people that actually knew each other -- whether by email or at the fabled Internet World conference (remember those good 'ol days?!). Nowadays, our one-to-many missives are going global, with comments coming in from as far away as Israel and Russia.

We truly are a global village - so let's all try to act like it and agree to work together to ride out this economic maelstrom by practicing sound business principles, being smart with our money and building the next generation (dare we say Web 3.0?!) of killer digital products and services.

The good news is that for every dip in the roller coaster ride, there's always an end which has a few people feeling sick to their stomach but most begging to go around again. I know I'm on board -- are you?!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


A disclaimer right out of the gate - this blog entry isn't exactly about new media, but it's kinda related in that it talks about technology . . . sorta! Well - it actually talks more about an invention and how it is guaranteed to change your life.

I came across this invention again yesterday inside the men's room of a boutique hotel in Manhattan Beach. It's actually been something I've wanted to talk about and share since my first encounter with it at LAX but just hadn't gotten around to it. But after yesterday I was determined to spread the "best thing since sliced bread" gospel about . . . (drumroll please!). . . . The Dyson Airblade!!
What is it you ask?! Quite simply, it is the fastest and all around best automatic hand dryer EVER CREATED!!! From the first time I used it, I knew that it would be just a matter of time before it rendered all of those other hand dryers obselete -- and mark my words - by the time 2009 rolls around you'll see this contraption everywhere. 12 seconds to completely dry your hands -- are you kidding me?! Does this mean no more hitting the button on those old hand dryers with my elbows and still looking for paper towels after they've run for full minute?!?
Laugh all you want now - but I guarantee you that you'll be one of the converted after the first time you use one.
Kudos to James Dyson - that guy is one smart Brit! Now if could only figure out the whole toaster thing . . .


Couldn't help but feel a little bit of net-stalgia while reading this Alley Insider article from Robin Kawakami giving us a "where-are-they-now" update of some of the most memorable stars of THE BUBBLE. After all, who can forget some of these these hall of famers:

1. Brian Pinkerton (WebCrawler)
2. Craig Kanarick and Jeffrey Dachis (Razorfish)
3. David Bohnett (GeoCities)
4. Deidre LaCarte Steenman (Hampsterdance)
5. Garrett Gruener and David Warthen (Ask Jeeves)
6. Graham Spencer, Joe Kraus, Ben Lutch, Mark Van Haren, Ryan McIntyre and Martin Reinfried (Excite)
7. James Hong and Jim Young (HOTorNOT)
8. Jason Olim and Matthew Olim (CDNOW)
9. John Romero (id Software)
10. Jonathan Gay (Flash)
11. Joseph Park and Yong Kang (
12. Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman (GovWorks, "")
13. Mahir Çağrı
14. Michael “Fuzzy” Mauldin (Lycos)
15. Mike Burrows and Louis Monier (AltaVista)
16. Paul Gauthier and Eric Brewer (Inktomi)
17. Sock Puppet
18. Philip J. Kaplan (FuckedCompany)
19. Randy Constan (the Internet’s Peter Pan)
20. Sabeer Bhatia (Hotmail)
21. Steve Madere (Deja News)
22. Toby Lenk (eToys)
23. Todd Krizelman and Stephan Paternot (

Looking through this list, the first thing that comes to mind is how unfair it is to leave off so many other qualified candidates -- here are just a few to get those memories flowin'!:

Wonder what the Web 2.0 list will look like . . . any predictions?!?

Saturday, September 27, 2008


I don't know about you, but some of my early weekend mornings (brought about by our way-too-early-to-rise 6 month old daughter) are spent catching up on some of our recorded shows. This morning I was watching a show on The Food Network called "The Cooking Loft" hosted by a dear college friend of mine, Alex Guarnaschelli - who by the way is the executive chef at NYC restaurant/hotspot Butter -- I strongly encourage you to visit if you haven't already.

But I digress! The reason I bring up this show is because as I was going through my normal routine of skipping through the first commercial break, I saw something called "Short Stories" - which as it turns out was a "show within a show" occupying the three commercial slots for the 1/2 hour Cooking Loft segment. I haven't yet been able to find any info or video footage of it online (which in and of itself is somewhat surprising) but the premise of the three-party commercial was two sisters - one the owner of an L.A. based cooking school called HipCooks and the other a jewelry designer who was using the cooking school space as the venue for a launch party - preparing for this event -- the cook cooking and the jewelry designer decorating the space.

What got me to stop and watch all three segments of this commercial montage was not so much the story line as it was the fact that the brand and messaging of the show's sponsor -- SoyJoy -- was integrated in a tastefully subtle yet impactful way. It was one of the few "advertising as content" efforts in recent memory that was done well enough to appeal to my consumer side and make me not hit the fast forward button on the remote.

So to all agencies, brands and creative shops out there trying to figure out a way to keep the TV-watching audience engaged during commercial time, I would highly recommend taking a look at this effort for inspiration -- and to whoever produced this "Short Stories" idea-- bravo!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


iMedia's Brand Summit wrapped up earlier this week in San Diego, and as part of Tuesday's keynote session they had Mark Kvamme, general partner at Sequoia Capital, speak.

Selfishly, we weren't as interested in what he had to say (although it is good stuff - a recap of which you can check out here:, we were excited by the fact that one of his quotes was:

"We're in a brave new world. . ."

We'll forgive him (for now!) on forgetting to add the word "media" in there - but it's a good start!

Even better is the first sentence of this recap - which uses the whole phrase in saying:

"On Feb. 16, 2009 the switch will flip, and TV's conversion from an analog to a digital signal will usher in a brave new consumer-centric media world."

We're committed to having this phrase be part of the new media lexicon - so thanks to Mark and iMedia for helping us out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


So I know I'm a bit late in the game to comment on the fact that (partial) Internet access is quickly becoming a reality in the not-so-friendly skies, but it's really worth spending a few minutes riffing on because it is probably now the one and only thing to look forward to -- what with all the s**t we have to deal with from the airlines -- checked bag fees, no pillows or blankets, higher fares, less flights, longer lines, more connections, longer delays . . . shall I keep going?!

Yeah, yeah - I know there's those of you out there that are going to complain about the price for this in-flight Internet access, but I for one will be glad to pay it -- in part because when I'm traveling for business on American Airlines (not by choice - my company makes us use them -- and for once they did something right!) I'll just pass the cost on to my employer, who'll be grateful that I used what little down time I used to have while in the sky to get even more work done.

For those of you who haven't seen it yet, here's a commercial put together by the company (GoGo Inflight) that behind the Internet service on American - as well as on Virgin America and Delta Airlines.

And do yourself a favor -- sign up for an account with GoGo before you take your first flight -- that'll save you a few more minutes so that you can eek out that last snarky email.
What's that you say -- not another new media blog?!

Well - no need to worry. We're not gonna try and be all that and a bag of chips (we'll leave that to the really smart bloggers). Instead the plan is to put together for you, our soon-to-be loyal audience, a treasure trove of tasty snippets from the new media blogosphere and add our own toppings.

Our main goal here is to try and capture the essence of what is happening in our society to help create and define this Brave New (Media) World that we live in - and we welcome your thoughts and comments.

Now let's all enjoy the ride together!!