Rocketboom and Lisa Nova Join Forces

It is my greatest pleasure to announce that Rocketboom is teaming up with Lisa Nova to produce additional content for the Rocketboom network. In addition to Rocketboom’s rock-solid anchor, Joanne Colan, Rocketboom will expand from five episodes per week, to seven episodes per week with the addition of Lisa Nova hailing from a new west coast Rocketboom news desk.

Lisa Nova will of course continue to post on her Youtube LisaNova Channel http://www.youtube.com/user/LisaNova in parallel with creating and hosting two news days per week of Rocketboom. 

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In my post in August announcing our partnership with Sony Pictures, I had a few words to say about how this positioned us alongside some of the other networks which grew out of independent shows like Rocketboom (e.g. Revision3, Nextnewnetworks, etc.). A lot of the networks created a series of verticals, or silos for their shows, in an attempt to fill up demand for niche interests with specialized content for different types of people (e.g. the Weblogs, Inc./Gawker model of expanding from one blog on one specialized topic to many blogs on many topics.) Audiences however are very hard to build up and a “template” for the various show websites, etc. may not fit everyone’s needs. It’s likely more difficult to leverage production resources and especially more difficult to leverage your audience from one show to another. If your company is the size of CBS, its not the same kind of a problem. If you are a small start up trying to leverage a show into a network in the most efficient and economical way, another way is to “spin off”.

Anyone remember who lived next door to Archie Bunker in All in the Family? Yep, The Jefferson’s which went on to became it’s own show. An even better example stems from Stephen Colbert, the once rare correspondent of the “The Daily Show”. The audience loved him so much, the show kept bringing him back and by the time they were ready to branch off with a new show, The Colbert Show, they had a formula, a system, the brain trust, support systems, tested pilots and especially the audience all in place and on stand by to nearly guarantee the success of the show. 

As it relates to Rocketboom, we realized this last year consequently with our Know Your Meme series. Over the winter holidays, in order to give ourselves a break, we decided we would prerecord an entire week of Know Your Meme episodes and run them back-to-back, breaking down the memes and viral videos of the year. By surprise, our audience went nuts and the episodes became some of our most popular content ever. Since we loved the series too, we decided we would spend the year developing the show and continue to sprinkle episodes into Rocketboom as test runs and pilots while building up the idea with our audience.

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Rocketboom’s Elspeth Rountree in a Know Your Meme episode

Starting today with two weeks of back-to-back episodes of Know Your Meme for the holidays, along with a weekly Know Your Meme series for yet another episode per week, many more field reports as we grow our Human Wire category and our field correspondents and right away, with Lisa Nova on board, our staple daily news offerings will double in 2009.

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Rocketboom Field Correspondent Ruud Elmendorp reporting from Kenya

On another note…

I’m also very proud to announce a new project that we have begun with Agility Studios. Together we are building a project that is not content creation, but is related to online video. We are not going to say another word about it until we are ready to release it, but I’m ultra excited because it fills a very big hole in the video marketplace that has not been captured. We are currently looking for developers and a designers to begin working in our studio in NYC starting this January so please pass on the word if you know of anyone.

I am feeling the weight of the economy on my personal life and in the world around me and have seen several of our colleagues and competitors take big hits in the last few months (Mobligic and Mobuzz are all but gone, Rev3 had large layoffs, shows were slashed, etc.), so I’m even more grateful than ever to our awesome partner Crackle at Sony Pictures - this has been a great year for Rocketboom as a result. And Sony has been a real pleasure to work with. Everyone has been extremely bright, helpful, honest, sincere, and especially open. We truly feel supported at Sony and only hope we can give back to our group as much as they have given to us throughout our partnership.

If I had to extract one major point - a single insight for a business like Rocketboom - I’d say it all comes down to content. In the earliest stages of creating a content business, if you find yourself spread too thin trying to do everything from business dev to producing to tech, it might be better to spend the majority of your time improving your final content offering. With that, everything else will likely come more easily. With everything we do, it’s always the day to day episodes that we want to make as wonderful as possible. Every day counts.

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