New Media is Like Ostrich Meat. Eventually, Your Kids Will Grow Up Eating It.
WebProNews recently spoke with popular radio and podcast personality Adam Carolla. After being fired from his radio show, he started a podcast and after just two weeks, it reached 2.4 million downloads. Some people consider him a pioneer in podcasting, but he doesn’t seem to really think of it that way. "I was doing a radio show, and then they fired me," he says.
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His friend then told him he should do a podcast. After explaining to him what a podcast was, he convinced Carolla to sign on. "I’m flattered that people think of me as some sort of podcast pioneer," Carolla tells WebProNews. "There are people who were doing it before I was doing it. There will be people doing it after I was doing it. We didn’t invent anything. Maybe we were a little more consistent about it or approached it in a little different way, and you know, if people like to give me more credit than I deserve, I’m always willing to take it."
"But you know also, the whole pioneering thing, you know a lot of people say, ‘well, you got in on the ground floor of this’ and they act like you bought Macintosh or Apple stock, you know, in 1979," he continues. "It’s not quite the same. It’s more like…I always tell people, ‘the guys who played in the NFL in the 50’s were sort of pioneers, but those guys made 8 grand a year, and had to work at used car lots during the off season with no benefits,’ so pioneer…not necessarily a rich pioneer…you’d be much better off playing in the NFL now and making millions of dollars, so it’s somewhat analogous in that it’s nice to be known as the first guy to the party and the pioneer and all that stuff, but on the other hand, you don’t get rich just because you were there first."
Inspiring words for anyone who may think they are late to the game at this point. The fact is that it’s still very early in the game, particularly when it comes to monetization.
"When it comes to advertisers and monetizing the podcast, there’s nothing that people have done and are aware of and so when you’re trying to get ad dollars from companies and they have traditionally used terrestrial radio and print and cable television and network television and sky writing and banners on the back of airplanes and blimps and everything else, this is new," says Carolla. "And people are a little weird about new, and it’s sort of like…I remember about ten years ago, people wanted us to eat ostrich meat, and they’d go ‘well it tastes like beef and it’s lean and it has less fat than beef and it’s better for you and it’s cheaper per pound, and people went…’I don’t know. I never ate ostrich growing up. That seems weird to me.’ and you’re like what’s the difference…"
"So there’s that little transition, and you can tell them until you’re blue in the face ‘hey, it’s better and it’s leaner and it’s cheaper and it’s whatever’, and they’re still like, ‘I want a burger.’ So that’s what you’re dealing with," continues. "Now eventually, you start getting people going ‘hey, I tried that ostrich burger and it’s pretty solid,’ and then eventually, their kids grow up eating ostrich burger and it makes no difference to them, and they start preferring it over the beef, because it’s cheaper and leaner and whatever else it is. So there is that transition where no matter how much you tell them, and how good it is for them, there’s still [the] old school that goes, ‘I don’t know.’ But, we’ve seen all that change in the last six months. I mean it just changed. People are stepping up. They’re advertising. They’re getting their checkbooks out. They’re not writing anything on them, but they’re getting the checkbook out…but they understand, a couple hundred thousand people’s a couple hundred thousand people. It doesn’t matter what they’re listening to or how they’re listening to it."
As far as content production, Carolla doesn’t see new media as much different than old media. "There’s not much to it. It’s not that different….everyone tries to kind of spin it into something different, but you get a microphone, and sometimes you get a camera, and you sit there and talk, and you tell jokes or you have some provocative conversation, and either people want to hear it or see it or they don’t, and you put it up on the computer vs. the TV set or on an MP3 player vs. the car stereo or radio, but either way, it’s just you talking and people listening…"
Carolla’s talking about podcasting, but you can see where this logic would apply across the whole new media board.
Is new media really that different than old media? Share your thoughts.