There’s Money To Be Made?!

In Online on December 5, 2007 at 3:01 am

The dream for every internet star wannabe.

Picked up this interesting link yesterday from Digg, which screamed out the headline “Ask A Ninja earns 1Million Dollars a year!” Of course, having heard a whole load of talks from former-Apple marketing-turned-VC dude Guy “Art of The Start” Kawasaki (awesome speaker–check out this talk on the rules of innovation) and thinking of new media ideas while in the showers, headlines like these just lift the spirits up. Yep, advertising on the new media platform is getting ripe and internet success stories like Askaninja do occur, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. While Kent Nichols and Doug Sarine earn “about $100,000 a month in ad revenue and income from merchandising and licensing,” says the article, you’ve gotta get 500,000 views a month to give up your day job. Of course, seeing how weak our Ringgit is, I’d be happy to earn about 1% of what askaninja takes.


A reality check, though. Like most other mediums where the ground is fertile and free, there’s a whole crapload of internet wannabe stars and startups, so don’t get all too psyched up about making a million bucks. To get that sort of audience, the content has to–firstly–engage the audience directly (mahalo daily, diggnation and askaninja all share this in common), be globally skewed, unique, short, updated ON TIME (although, in askaninja’s case, he’s got the core audience already, so coming out irregularly is all right). The medium is the message, as Marshall McLuhan said, and for the medium of the Net, those are the ground rules. one thing’s for sure– it’s not making a “TV show, but for the Web.”

It’s hard work to make a video podcast–even a simple ten-minute show like Webbnation can take a whole day to make from start to finish, so I’m under no illusions that being a videoblog star is easy. Check out this old podcast interviewing the askaninja duo when they were just burgeoning stars, talking about the working process behind the million-dollar vidcast (or vlog, video blog, whatever). And then there’s the problem of getting who gets to sell your ads–as far as I know, the Malaysian market is still very nascent, with Nuffnang and Advertlets being the primary blog advertising channels I know, but they’re some way off from being Federated Media.

But then again, if you think about it, there’s no better time to start planning a New Media venture now for next year. Broadband penetration is up, blogs are becoming a major source of a wired person’s media diet, and Facebook (the great marketing tool) is pretty much the first page you visit before Google. Askaninja is just one shining star that shines brightest among the millions of other videoblogs and blogshows; that news may be inspiring or despairing, depending on how you look at it. I’m an optimist.

  1. heres another thought… the so called new media has kinda matured. to a point where production standards on established shows such as askaninja and mahalo is pretty professional. look at what rev3 is putting out. newbies who start now are facing a disadvantage in terms of know-how of making their vidcasts especially getting audio as nifty as similarly budgeted stuff out there.

    also theres also the ever present problem of who is gonna pay for the bandwidth. to get ad support, you need hits, to pay for increased bandwidth from hits, you need ads…

  2. bandwidth is dirt cheap and getting cheaper. i think the problem is production costs: if you have to keep upping the quality and therefore cost of production to keep up with your expanding audience, but you aren’t earning old media amounts of money, how do you pay for it?

  3. Yeah, it’s a tough environment to be in–but better New media than Old media. Comparing the costs between starting up a magazine and a show like askaninja/diggnation, the production costs for the first 3 months (RM180K and upwards, conservatively)–a guaranteed write off, seeing there’s a v. insignificant number of paid ads–of a magazine’s life is enough to cover the equipment needed for a camera, studio rental (if you need one), lighting and Final Cut Pro/some other video editing software, as well as staff costs. Advertising will trickle in for the first few months, and it won’t be much, but if it becomes a hit–fuck it and sell it to some big publishing company looking for the next big local Web acquisition, because that’s where local publishers will be looking to in the next couple of years–and not many of them have a clue where to start.

    The new media space is getting tight and increasingly challenging, but it isn’t saturated as Old Media is now.

  4. john , wish i had stumbled upon your blog earlier! i want to cast u as the next videoblogging star. u will be dressed up as a leopard, gicing relationship advice to people who write in ;p

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