Is Rocketboom A Dud?

    March 27, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

Though Andrew Baron’s Rocketboom video blog has garnered a lot of attention as the benchmark vlog, it is also (inadvertently) becoming a case study in monetization. Baron doesn’t seem to mind this open experiment, except that he’s come to the realization that advertising just isn’t paying the bills.

As such, the vlog that launched the career of Amanda Congdon is looking for other revenue streams, according to Market Watch‘s Frank Barnako.

Baron wowed the audience at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo last October, speaking about monetization strategies and announcing he’d just closed a deal for $80,000 for a week’s worth of ads.

But that was when Rocketboom was peaking at 300,000-plus downloads. In the past six months, downloads have dwindled to 200,000. That’s still a hefty audience, but as Baron mentions at Market Watch, advertisers are seeking millions, rather than hundreds of thousands.

If dealing in text, an audience the size of Lexington, KY may be more than enough to attract certain advertisers on traditional terms. The cost of online video, however, means higher ad prices to pay for it, and advertisers start wincing.

So now the pioneer in the industry is forced to redirect, focus on merchandizing and consider a subscription model. This is interesting mostly because of Baron’s openness – the world (well, the small world that’s paying attention) is watching as this young man struggles with a model.

In the meantime, Baron is taking consulting jobs and speaking gigs to fund his outfit.

"What he’s finding out is that it’s a new medium that advertisers are willing to experiment with but its not a standard practice in their marketing," said iEntry Inc. CEO and WebProNews publisher Rich Ord.

"Metrics are difficult with online video. Marketers still aren’t using the Internet for branding, they’re using it for direct response."

Perhaps the issue here is tallying up the value of a 3-minute daily broadcast that is incredibly niche – but is also incredibly limited. What News Corp. is proving with MySpace, and what Google is proving with YouTube, is that the value is in community building.

A community, with its various topics, provides various audiences in their own niches. But their collective value will be stunning.