Rocketboom’s Ad Policy Returns Power To People

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Andrew Baron of Rocketboom fame may have sealed his position as an advertising visionary. His approach, detailed during a keynote address at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo, had everyone buzzing. A $20,000 discount for likeable commercials? Disney should shoot for an audience of 10,000?

Baron said a week’s worth of commercial space on the popular video blog Rocketboom, which reaches up to 350,000 fans daily, carries a price of $80,000, or about $55 CPM. But, and this is the big but, if the commercial is likeable, entertaining, and matches what he knows of the Rocketboom audience, the charge is only $60,000.

“Ads should be consistent with the interests of our audience,” he said. Traditionally advertisers have had power over content providers, deciding whether or not their products matched the demographic of a particular audience. Baron’s model would appear to give that power back to the content provider, and, to the audience.

“I’m only going to work with the advertisers I want to work with, and I’m only going to run ads I like,” he said.

One of the themes of the conference, as introduced by TWiT’s Leo Laporte on Friday morning, was that podcasting and vidcasting should steer itself away from the “bladdercasting” of traditional media, focusing on smaller, more loyal and engaged, niche markets. This gives the audience a stake in the content, and though the audience is smaller, the direct purchases could be much higher.

Baron continued that theme on Saturday morning with another crowd-husher. “Soon Disney is going to feel confident with an audience of 10,000 hard-core, dedicated fans focused on specific content,” he said.

He uses an example of Rocketboom’s t-shirt sales. Baron said he pulled in about $4,000 a month in t-shirt sales, a low number because the shirts can’t be found on the site (he seemed embarrassed about that); fans had to do a search in Google to find them. If they were findable on the site, he admits, he could pull in more fan-money.

Baron is also toying with the idea to expand Rocketboom’s content on a subscription model. Subscribers would gain access to longer features, outtakes, specials, and the like, for about $3.50. If just 10,000 viewers, about 3 percent, subscribed, that would rake in an extra $35,000 per month.

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