John McCann

Increased focus on amateurs

In Television, Video, Vlogging on March 2, 2006 at 7:38 pm

A New York Times article, “Yahoo Says It Is Backing Away From TV-Style Web Shows,” reports that Yahoo is moving away from a broadcast, mass culture direction it had recently adopted into a Participation Age model.

After proclaiming grand plans to bring elaborately produced sitcoms, talk shows and other television-style programs to the Internet, the head [Lloyd Braun] of Yahoo’s Media Group said yesterday that he was sharply scaling back those efforts. He said the group would shift its focus to content acquired from other media companies or submitted by users.

Braun said that he did not fully understand the Internet model when he joined Yahoo after a successful career creating blockbuster TV shows such as Lost. One analyst succinctly summarizes the key issue that Braun had likely missed.

Jordan Rohan, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, said Yahoo’s shift in strategy was sound. “Embracing things like blogs and sharing of content between individuals” is at least as important as “coming up with the next mega-online event,” he said. “The Internet is such a niche content environment that the broadcast model does not really work.”

West Wing is in its last season because its 8 million viewers are not sufficient for the television broadcast model. Rocketboom, a niche content video news show that is distributed over the Internet, is considered a big success with its relatively tiny viewer base. See my earlier post.

The Rocketboom folks recently sold ad time on its show via an eBay auction.

For the highest bidder, we will create five original, fifteen second (minimum) – one minute (maximum) post-roll commercials that will span five days of programming, Monday-Friday, March 6 through March 10, 2006. Each day that week a different commercial that we create for your company will be played at the conclusion of the Rocketboom episode. Rocketboom reaches a minimum of 130,000 people per day and each day’s video, over the course of several days, receives over 200,000 complete views. Thus, the advertisement reach for this auction is currently a minimum of one million views. The five unique advertisements, along with hyperlinks to your website, will also become a part of our archived web pages. They will remain freely available, searchable, index-able, re-distributable, and on demand. Additionally, direct links to each commercial will be available for at least one year.

The winner paid $40,000 for this advertising venture. Yahoo seems to be turning its attention to this market and away from applying the mass media model to the Internet. Now that’s a good sign for the Participation Age because it provides a little more light on this Age as it goes through its Dawn.

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