By now, pretty much everyone has heard of Rocketboom — the “vlog,” or video blog, or whatever you want to call it has an estimated 300,000 viewers a day, which is more than plenty of mainstream TV shows. What started as a cable-access style show with part-time actress Amanda Congdon sitting in front of a plywood desk and a map of the world has become a gigantic success story, with correspondents around the world. As if to illustrate how far the show has come, Amanda recently had a one-on-one interview with George Soros, the legendary billionaire fund manager.
I had a chance to chat with Rocketboom co-founder Andrew Baron during the mesh conference I helped organize in May — he was on a panel about the future of broadcasting — and he had some interesting things to say about his approach to advertising, and how Rocketboom was getting pitched by everyone from General Motors on down, but he wanted to keep the ads separate from the video content rather than inserting ads into the stream (as most of the advertisers seemed to want). A nice position to be in, I thought, where you can turn down millions of dollars in advertising and know that there is more just around the corner.
Now comes word from Robert Scoble — the now ex-Microsoft blogger — that Amanda and Rocketboom are making about $85,000 a week in advertising revenue, or about $4.4-million a year (and that figure is likely growing rather than shrinking). That’s an incredible figure for something that is still a relatively small operation, and less than two years old, as is the 300,000 viewer figure. Do you think any traditional TV industry types are interested in those numbers at all? You better believe it. For what it’s worth, Markus Frind of Plentyoffish.com — who says he makes almost $500,000 a month from AdSense on his dating website — doesn’t believe the talk about Rocketboom’s revenue.