Exclusive: Andrew Baron On Rocketboom’s 7-Figure Deal With Sony

Aug 5th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Story, Making Money with Podcasts, Podcasting, Video, Video Podcasts

Rocketboom has announced a big distribution and advertising deal with Sony Pictures, giving the daily video blog exposure and promotion across all of Sony’s IP universe: via PS/3, Bravia TV and Crackle.

We talked with Rocketboom creator Andrew Michael Baron, shown right with host Joanne Colan, about the deal.

“Over the past couple of years, for Rocketboom, we have wondered whether to consider taking on outside investment, outright sale, or some other means of monetizing the brand,” explains Baron. “Part of the terms of the Sony deal are that Sony pays Rocketboom up front, and Rocketboom makes more if Sony happens to make more as a result of their affiliation with us.”

Baron tempers his excitement over the announcement with some concerns. “Of course you worry about the culture class, the big vs small.”

Specifics On The Sony Deal

“Sony will handle all our advertising – if you want to advertise with Rocketboom, talk to Sony. It’s a ‘7-figure’ deal that will last ‘for a couple of years, most likely’,” explains Baron. “Sony sees our vision and knows how we want to grow Rocketboom.”

“This takes care of the whole advertising question. We tried and [were not entirely happy with] BlipTV, Federated Media, the do-it-yourself route…” explains Baron. “Our expertise is in the studio and now we can focus on that.”

Andrew says he has some benchmarks in place, so that “if Sony doesn’t end up performing, RB can back out of the dea.l”

Why wait so long to partner with big business?

The split between former Rocketboom host Amanda Congdon and Baron, back in summer 2006, was only resolved earlier this year, according to Baron. Until this was resolved, Rocketboom could not take on investors, enter into partnerships, nor look at acquisitions.

However, says Baron, “It gave me the opportunity to sit back and observe” what was going on in the industry, and look at which business models and which partnerships and which acquisitions worked… and which ones did not.

“Others have the idea right, to seize the opportunity to start new businesses, make new partnerships, forge new networks. It helps to pave the way and create the space, which helps to support other creators who might not be as savvy…”

“Other people [like Next New Networks with their $25million investment] grew too big, too quickly. This business [internet media] is not Tech 2.0. You don’t have to race to be first.”

“Their problem was building something too early, that was too big, and too scattered,” adds Baron. “They had okay stuff — a cartoon show, and a car show, and a show about making special effects. But you can’t leverage the audience from any one of those to watch any of the others. Creating good content can be so expensive, and the ad revenue to support that wasn’t there yet. It was too early.”

On Rocketboom’s Place & Future

“Rocketboom was an early success, but to stay in the game now, we just need to continue to make consistent, quality content. We’re in a good position, time-wise.”

“Our plan is to grow like the [Comedy Central] Daily Show did. At first, Steven Colbert would appear on the show just occasionally, and viewers would clamor for him to do more spots, and the producers would have him back more often.  Eventually, once his popularity and audience was already there, they created The Colbert Report spinoff from the Daily Show.”

“But unlike The Daily Show, which has 19 writers, Rocketboom has one. But, I think you wrote something about, we are looking to hire some additional writers as the Rocketboom grows.”

“We kind of stumbled accidentally on that same idea for [growing] Rocketboom. At the end of the year, we were trying to get some shows together ahead of time, trying to make space so that we could take some time off at the end of the year for vacation.  We created the “Know Your Meme” look back at the year in review. It became so popular with our viewers, and garnered us new viewers, that it can grow into its own regular feature.”

Moving Beyond Being The Poster Child For Vlogging

We asked Baron about how Rocketboom can stay relevant, now that it’s no longer the next new thing.

“The hyperbole of being first out of the gate – well first to get a lot of attention – that was enough in the beginning,” says Baron.

“That wears off after awhile. Three years ago, if you showed up with a video camera and a microphone, people would freak out. As great as it was, I always felt embarrassed at the attention. I’ve just always been trying to make things as good as I can.”

“Of all the things we’ve done, I am proudest of trying hard to do the best we can – writing, visuals, everything.  Our goal, over the long haul, is that, when people think of Rocketboom, they’ll think of integrity, quality and creativity.”

More coverate at TechCrunch, NewTeeVee, SVI

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No Responses to “Exclusive: Andrew Baron On Rocketboom’s 7-Figure Deal With Sony”

  1. auriana says:

    Congrats to Rocketboom!

    I don’t think it’s time for a gold-rush mentality for podcasters, though. Rocketboom has been around long enough to have a track record, independent of the host.
    Not many podcasters have this.

  2. taniaelis says:

    Where’s Amanda Congdon, again?

  3. ila says:

    Amanda is the star of sometimesdaily: http://sometimesdaily.com/

    and I don’t mind…. joanna rocks!

    congrats guys!

  4. bill c. says:

    Good interview. Interesting points. Congrats! 😀

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  7. […] and that type of stuff, and travel expenses for field pieces. According to Andrew, they have one writer, and according to Wikipedia, the entire staff consists of six people. Even Andrew himself has said: […]

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