If you ask Web junkies what shows they watched back in the day, most may say The Show with Ze Frank and RocketBoom. Well, three hosts and millions of views later, RocketBoom has kept online eyeballs glued to the small screen giving us our daily dose of Internet culture with a twist.
I stopped by their New York City headquarters and met with their latest addition to the team, Molly. While she did make the leap from the United Kingdom to host the popular video blog, Molly isn't new to the digital space. Before joining RB, she had built her own fan base on YouTube (90k+ subscribers) and Daily Booth (20k+ followers).
So how have they kept booming after all these years you might ask? Founder Andrew Baron filled me in on his secrets to online video success and what's next:
SL How have you seen online video evolve from time you started RB in 2004?
AB: When we first started, video was not yet working online so we had to create our own tech, distribution, promotion and even short-form style. We spent a lot of our efforts rallying the marketplace in hopes of inspiring others to jump in and help democratize the medium. Today, most people take video online for granted, though the marketplace is still be invented.
SL What's the recipe to your success?
AB: Three things: 1. Be the first 2. Be the best. 3. Be the most unique. If you have any two out of three of these qualities, you are in a good position with your business.
SL What are some tips for people wanting to get into web video and succeed?
AB: Focus on the content. It's important to build partnerships and relationships. But at the end of the day, the better the content is, the easier it will be to build these relationships because people will come to you. We call it incoming. The better the content is, the more opportunities will arise.
SL Let's do some forecasting- what's next in video online?
AB: The big players with major resources are breaking down right now and will work quickly to try and preserve their business models online, though, as we have seen with newspapers, photography, and music, it won't be preserved. 10 years ago, a show on NBC was one of the only shows to watch. Just a few companies had a near-monopoly on the medium. That has blown open and the large audiences are now finding thousands upon thousands of other options, reducing the total potential regular share for any one show.
On the other hand, the audience size is continuing to grow as more and more people move online, from all over the world. Next, we will begin to see even more of a blurring of the lines between professional content and armature content. Pretty soon, it will all just be TV, no matter what it is or where you watch it.
Through a rough economy, RB has quietly continued growing and has doubled their staff over the last 6 months. They have also evolved organically from a single show into the Rocketboom Network, now including RocketBoom Tech, Know Your Meme and their upcoming Humanwire, which they have pegged to be the Current.TV killer. Watch out!