"I remember quite clearly the day Rocketboom had 700 regular audience members (December, 2004). 700 was a very big number for me - it still is - because it represents one of the largest, accessible playhouses in Austin that I was involved with. In any number of theaters, usually with less than 300 seats, I would easily spend an entire year of my life working on a production that would be a success to sell out even one or two nights for an entire 6 or 8 day run. In so many ways, there is no comparison between a play and an episode of Rocketboom and in another way, with Rocketboom, we now have well over 350,000 people per show."
Andrew Baron, commenting at his own blog on Rocketboom's growth
(photo by J.D. Lasica)
Photo Linked From: http://static.flickr.com/48/114467214_a5e4510f1e.jpg
Oct. 13, 2006:
Andrew M. Baron was a relatively obscure presidential campaign worker for Democrat John Edwards in 2004, working on Internet streaming video campaign spots when he began to notice a change in how users were reacting. Instead of complaining about dropped connections, stop-and-start pictures and slow downloads, they started commenting on what Edwards was saying.
Baron realized -- he says now he thinks he was a little ahead of the market -- that Internet broadband adoption in the United States was finally making full-motion video a viable medium for conveying political -- and other messages.
Why not, thought Baron, start a daily, three-minute, edgy, capsule summary of undiscovered news and insight that would be streamed over the Internet? After the 2004 campaign, Rocketboom was born in late 2004, and by April 2006 it claimed 350,000 or more unique daily users.
Rockeboom is a five-day-a-week Internet video comedic newscast launched by Andrew Michael Baron on Oct. 26, 2004 with a recruited actress, Amanda Congdon, then 24, as host. According to a WikiPedia entry it went from an initial 700 viewers to 350,000 daily viewers by April 2006. Baron comments on this growth in a post on his own blog.
Baron is a Bates College graduate who has worked for IBM's Tivoli Systems subsidiary in Austin, Texas, and lists playing the ukulele as among his accomplishments. He holds a masters in fine arts from Parsons School of Design in Brooklyn, N.Y.
In November, 2005, Baron gave an interview to the Unofficial Apple Weblog site and talked about the mechanics of preparing Rocketboom. He also talked about the business:
QUESTION: Speaking of promotion and sales; how does Rocketboom make the money needed to stay afloat and is it prosperous?
BARON: We are just working out all of this now. We decided from the start to not worry about it and wait until we were actually able to create a value before trying to extract a value. That time has past now as we have a nice market value (by all kinds of different standards) and our growing expenses are becoming quite a burden. The beauty of this all of course is that it can be done for so cheap. Aside from the minimal consumer equipment (laptop and camera) the only substantial cost besides salary (or lack thereof) is bandwidth. Yet bandwidth is so cheap and getting cheaper. The most obvious form of revenue, especially on a large scale, is through motion advertising. Also, Apple obviously created the pay-per video industry. Content creators can also enjoy revenue from licensing to various distribution platforms. It's really a global economy for all content. Subscription for extra content and high quality files is another route. We are working on all of these options simultaneously while building up our own network of websites.