7 Facts New Media Creators Must Face If They Want To Survive This Year

It’s time to face facts. Here are 7:

Niche audience programs can’t survive on mass audience advertising models. This one has GOT TO STOP. The reason American Idol can do well on a few pennies per audience member is because they have a few zillion audience members to pull pennies from. Good for them, they can have them. But, the niche content creator who thinks there are a few zillion pennies in their niche to collect don’t understand the meaning of the word niche.

And the funny thing is, people want to pay more for niche than they want to pay for mainstream stuff. Why won’t we let them? The odds of making good money on pennies per audience member are so small … why do that to yourself when there are better options for everyone?

What are you afraid of?

The “Old Media” guard is doing what they can to block you out.
For me, the big theme at CES wasn’t 3D or eBook readers, or any of the other memes you’ll read about. For me at least, the big theme was that “Old Media” is spending insane amounts of money to get better at what they do.

The only reason any machine of that size “gets better” is because there is competition that might take market share away from them. The “Old Media” guard is aware of what might happen and are doing everything in their power to prevent it.

Real reason for 3DHDTV? Even Kodak won’t be able to produce a $200 camera that pulls that off.

Real reason for IPTV? Cable cutting has become so real, they’re getting ready for when it goes mainstream.

Real reason for embedded widgets in TV sets and Blu-ray players? It’s called futureproofing your tech.

But if you look at the demos, you’ll notice something very important, very important … NEW MEDIA AIN’T PART OF ANY OF IT. We haven’t been invited to that party and they so hope that we continue to bicker about page design changes at YouTube and the size of our checks so we won’t notice what’s going on.

And the thought process has even infected us. Why in the world will Boxee automatically add a new episode of “Two And A Half Men” to my queue but not an episode of Geekbrief or The Totally Rad Show?

If we don’t force ourselves into their playing field, we’re not going to be invited to the games.

Despite all this great tech, it’s still easier to watch TV than to watch you. Yes, “kids” watch stuff on their computers and love it. Yes, the average 17 year old sees no difference in watching on the laptop than on watching on the TV. These funfacts are merely transitionatory tidbits that will mark a few years of our history, not our future.

But, dear friends, the future is Internet on the television and the phone. The future is YOUR content on THEIR terms. Flash players at obscure websites is hardly the totally of terms YOUR AUDIENCE might come to you with or request from you.

First part of having a niche audience, giving them what they want …

With companies like Kunaki in play it is, simply, wrong, not to offer everything you do on disc of some sort.

How easy is it to get your stuff?

What do you have to lose?

You can add “Ask A Ninja” to your DVD queue at Netflix. Why can’t I get your show there?

“New Media” that acts like “Old Media” is missing the point.

What we bring to the game is so much more than cheap cameras and the quest for unlimited hosting for less than the cost of a latte.

More and more of what’s coming out these days looks like an attempt at “beating the studio system” than it is “changing media” as we originally started to do.

Just ask yourself this simple question … what do you really want to be doing? What is your dream here? If it’s a show on Fox or a movie on HBO, I’d say you got a better chance going the “traditional” route at this point.

If your goal is to take a small audience to places they’ve never been before and make a good profit doing it, are you on the right path for such?

We don’t act like we want our audience to act. That’s called hypocrisy.

How much “New Media” have you consumed this week? How much have you produced this week?

Ever notice that the more you eat this dogfood, the more successful you are? Rocketboom, TWiT, and Revision3 anyone?

Yes, our audience is following our lead – it’s just a bad one.

You can’t sell advertisers the same pack of lies they can. Admit it, you’ve been thinking this for years …

Yup, those advertisers pushing their 30 second spots designed for Oprah online aren’t even close to getting their money’s worth. Don’t worry, they might not be getting their money’s worth on Oprah either.

But, you don’t have the cache or the agency behind you to get those kinds of deals for your show – so stop thinking that’s your ticket.

New Media’s success won’t come from successfully lying to advertisers and audience members – it is the complete opposite.

Even if your basement, it’s still business. I’m still surprised how many have mastered Final Cut and purchased thousands of dollars in computer equipment but who haven’t done more than surf a few blogs (written by guys with day jobs) to figure out how they’re going to make money here.

It’s called “Show Business” or “Information Marketing Business” or “Training Business” or “[Insert Term Here] Business” for a reason.

What business are you in?

Are you in business at all?

Could that be why profit ain’t much?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • http://twitter.com/chris2x Chris Christensen

    I sure hope you are right that the more one “eats this dog food” the more successful they will be.

    Chris “podcast addict” Christensen

  • http://michaeldoornbos.com mrdoornbos

    Excellent points

  • http://www.taylormarek.com taylormarek

    Awesome article as usual Paul. I think we should have a chat soon to share and mesh some ideas together, I'm definitely game. 😉

    My thoughts?

    Well, I see alot of people trying to blend, mesh, or separate New Media and Old Media. Its not working. Hulu proves that point. NY Times proves that. Late Night talk shows prove that. Reason being? They are completely missing the side of the barn, and its 5 feet away! This isn't trying to blend something, this is a total and complete revolution. Many of my generation understand this, though they are on the quiet end of things. I have to stir them up, but that is enough for another conversation…

    The other thing I notice? Too many still treat it as a hobby rather than a business that can actually provide an income for them. Those who do treat it as a “business” think they will make a living instantly. In reality, its a “nice hobby” you can undertake to pay the bills. As we know, it takes a mountain load of work to get anything done and there will always be the rare ones who pop out right away.

    I for one am enjoying the dogfood I'm eating at the moment. Wouldn't want it any other way.

  • paulcolligan

    In your case especially buddy.

    The only thing I might ask/suggest/wonder is if you're planning on doing the Premium thing if you're subscribing to any premium Podcasts yourself.

  • paulroekle

    Great stuff Paul!

  • barbreindl

    Paul, I always love your commentary. To the point, clear and usually right :)

    I am fascinated with the evolution of how consumers are taking in media. After speaking with you a couple of yrs ago, I mentioned to friends that all TV in 10 years or less would be via the internet. Most of my non-media friends thought I was nuts.

    As of today, it won't take 10 years, right?

    The way I see it, even today, except for my desire for a few sporting events (note that some already stream even live events on the internet) and local news…. that I want to see WHEN they happen, I see almost no need for cable nor satellite…particularly if you live in a metro area in which you can get local digital network “airwave” news etc.

    Thanks as always for your visionary viewpoints on all the “new media” stuff.

    Barb Reindl
    Co-Founder, NewPrimeTime.com

  • paulcolligan


  • paulcolligan


  • paulcolligan

    Remember, we have live sporting via Internet on the Roku box and MLB.tv. It's coming fast.

  • http://twitter.com/bernielandry bernielandry

    Excellent points indeed. I remember in the 80's when we started doing sound tracks for corporate videos was part of… are you ready for this… NEW MEDIA. The big guys didn't learn their lesson then and I'm not sure they are going to learn it now.

    I believe the best way to deliver ones media (message) is to offer it in as many consumable formats as time and money will allow. (stream it, download, online players, usb stick, DVD, CD, mobile players… etc)

    As for being in business. People get serious. It's not about “part-time-make-big-money-quick”. It's about investing time and money in YOUR NICHE, on your business. Business is about consistent growth, hard work and respect for your clients.

    Having been in business for over 25 years, one fact remains true… your business can only go 1 of 2 ways – growing or decreasing. There is no standing still. (If you believe you are standing still, you are still going the opposite of growing. FACT: To be and stay in business requires cash flow. So if you are not keeping the cash flow coming, your business (if you have one) is sinking.

  • barbreindl

    Yes….and Tennis Channel.com has live tennis when ESPN 2 is not broadcasting….. I was thinking more about your comments about the actual MEDIA changing vs. just the delivery. There are clearly signs that “media” creation is changing. Are you aware of Owl City?….he has a popular song right now…Fireflies. Well he is a self-made artist….a kid producing music in the basement of his home in little Owatanna, MN. Self published on the web and voila, someone in “old media” must have taken notice. He and his followers obviously didn't think he needed the old media guys, but they must think they need him :)

  • paulcolligan

    Great stuff. Thanks for your comments. I agree.

  • paulcolligan


  • http://twitter.com/yogiwan yogiwan

    I responded to Paul's email on this subject and it was suggested that I post it here so the response could be seen by more. (Note: this was item two in the email)

    From item 2., it the future such that the only way to make money is buy getting a few pennies from millions? The product market with only 40% gross margins going in (and EBay is nogt taking 9% if gross sales) is not a model for success? Not sure what your are trying to say.


  • mangozilla

    Pro cycling is on the right track. I think it was Versus who streamed feeds of Tour de France and Tour of Calif. in a way that mainstream media couldn't match. In one pc monitor I could view both the leaders and the peleton (the 'pack') in 2 different feeds. They streamed telemetry info from individual riders that included GPS info, speed, pedal rate and heart rate. And when bad weather disabled the video feeds, the twitter stream from people actually on the course filled in the details. Actually humorous to see people race to be the first to tweet the identities of riders in a crash!

  • paulcolligan

    No, that's not the future at all. The future is getting a good chunk from a smaller audience. The point with part 2 was don't think that the “big guys” want to help at all – we're going to need to find these audiences ourselves. Does that make more sense?

  • paulcolligan

    Good to know.