Rocketboom, indeed

In this Sunday’s NY Times Arts & Leisure section, Rocketboom‘s Amanda Congdon and Andrew Baron get the star treatment they deserve in a very good — and admiring — story about vlogging.

One big bit of news therein is that Rocketboom has cut a deal with TiVo to let its customers download the vlog. Or maybe that’s the wrong way to say it: They’ll be able to record and watch Rocketboom just as easily as they can record Jon Stewart. So now the little fish swim in the same pond with the big fish. That’s what citizens’ media is all about.

Rocketboom will get half of the revenue for ads wrapped around their vlogs. That is great news. And that’s what big media’s relationship with citizens’ media should be about.

Bravo! Brava! Encore!

: Some blurbable lines from the story by Robert Mackey:

Amanda Congdon is a big star on really small screens….

What makes Rocketboom so different from most other video blogs… is that the daily episodes are consistently entertaining. With Mr. Baron, 35, the designer who created the site and films the episodes, Ms Congdon, 24, has fashioned a quirky, charming persona, with an inventive take on the news that is closer in spirit to Letterman than CNN.

The fact that she is an attractive young woman probably doesn’t hurt either….

In fact, the day Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, introduced the video iPod to developers, he showed a playlist of video podcasts on his computer. Rocketboom was at the top….

And here is Mr. Mackey’s contribution to the doctrine of exploding TV:

Until now, both the television and film industries have been built on a model that requires producers to appeal to millions of people or be considered failures. If Amanda Congdon at one end of the spectrum and Charlene Rule at the other continue to add viewers at the rate they’re going, they and the best of the other vloggers might just provide a viable alternative to that lowest-common-denominator business model.

In other words, the revolution may just be vloggerized.

  • Andrew and Amanda deserve the success they are achieving. The production cost of $20 dollars per episode cited in the article does not include their labor, which, believe me, is substantial. They are really pushing the medium forward with their dedication to putting out an engaging show 5 days a week.

    It’s wonderful that technology is letting people with talent, drive, and vision can get their work out there so successfully, cutting out the media middlemen.

    Although the article stresses the possibility of the “best” vloggers making a living with their vlogs, I think the fact that people can easily make videos for their friends, families, and the odd random visitor and put them online is just as earthshaking. Most vlogs are important to 15 people, but if they are the right 15 people, that’s great. And just imagine the resource these videos will be for anthropologists and historians a hundred years from now!

    I’m all for dedicated and clever people like Andrew, Amanda, and Charlene getting the recogition and truckloads of eyeballs they deserve—I’m also a big fan of the “boring” little videos that the rest of us are making. Both are revolutionary and worthy of celebrating. So hats off to Andrew, Amanda, Verdi, Charlene, and the other thousands of people creating a rich, sometimes mundane, sometimes heady, vlogosphere.

  • Paw

    You people are joking, right? This is some boring-ass shit and I’ve sampled more than a few of them. If these people can get paid for this, more power to them, but just because it’s “citizen’s media” doesn’t mean it’s able to keep me awake or engaged. Sometimes, the media middlemen are there for a reason….

  • I have to agree with you, Jeff, Rocketboom truly deserves this. As someone who started putting out a 10-minute weekly vlog, I understand how much work is put into every one of Rocketboom’s shows.

    I wrote about the New York Times article today on my blog as I’m trying to figure out how to make the transition from working as a secretary to doing this full time. If I could make a liveable salary, I would easily quit my job and work on Kitkast full time. In fact, if I COULD do this full time, I would be able to make much more than one weekly episode.

    Until something comes up or a lightbulb turns on in my brain, I’ll just have to keep Kitkast as an expensive hobby.


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  • Paw, you’re right that there is a role for middlemen in the content equation. The difference is that in TV middlemen finance, distribute, and market content—in vlogging, the big role for middlemen is finding and recommending “good” content. There is a place out there for a “vlog digest.” Some people are taking up this role like the folks at the links below, but there’s still a lot of room for more people to filter content.

    Just remember that it’s not always easy to find something “good” on TV either. There is definitely a lot of quality content out there. I just curated a screening of vlog videos from NYC based vloggers, and I found heaps of great stuff. But you do have a point, someone has to make it easier to help you find the kind of stuff you would enjoy. Wading through random blogs is hit or miss. I kind of enjoy it, but it’s not for everyone.

  • Melvin Webb

    I am interested in knowing more about the company Rocket Boom.
    can you invest in this company?
    Do they have a website?
    Are they generating any revenue yet?


  • TommyTu

    Melvin Webb, your a right n00b are’t you.