On Saturday I attended a panel about videoblogging and independent producers who are moving from hobbyists to full-fledged profitable production companies. Zadi Diaz, Smashface Productions, moderated. Panelists included Andrew Baron, Rocketboom; Ryanne Hodson, RyanIsHungry.com; David Prager, Revision3 Corporation; and Douglas Sarine, Co-Owner Beatbox Giant Productions.
The panel sought to explore ins and outs of forming a new media production company, the technology/content marriage, building online communities, the aesthetics of video on the Web, the trials and tribulations of working with a limited staff and budget, and the challenge of ultimately becoming profitable
For Andrew Baron of Rocketboom fame, forming his company came from following the examples of the blogging business model. He looked at what Jason Calacanis did with Weblogs Inc. and what Nick Denton did with Gawker Media as examples. These companies created niche blogs, and Baron wants to create niche content.
For Ryanne and her partner Jay, it was about moving her video from her personal blog to a separate space. “We said let’s separate it out. I came from a TV background. So we created a show. I want to use a microphone. I want to interview people. Let’s just start another Word Press blog and put our videos there,” she said. From there the production company started growing.
And Douglas Sarine simply saw Askaninja as a means of delivering him form the corporate world.
Larger media companies could learn a thing or two from smaller companies like these. According to Prager, who started Diggnation, “You can also say it’s production and distribution channels 2.0. Nowadays it isn’t expensive to do this.”
It may not be expensive to do this, but what’s the payoff?
Robert Scoble of Scobelizer fame announced that he’d gotten a six-figure deal with Seagate before he even had an audience. Baron agreed that this was a good business model. Getting one sponsor to buy in for a set time period ends up being a relationship that works best for the content producer, the audience, and the sponsor.
But, as Diaz said, Scoble is pretty popular.
And yet, there are still listens to be learned from this smaller companies and their approach to delivering good content to the millions of people online.