Tuesday, May 22, 2007

7 Months for 10x Return in Online Video...Not Bad

You can make money in online video! WallStrip, the video blog about stocks and investing, has been confirmed to be purchased by CBS. Rumors have said $5 million was the purchase price. Not bad for a show that started last year in October and to date raised about $600K. As one of the producers of the show stated, its Pop Culture meets stock culture. If you might remember Rocketboom, the once popular daily video blog, starring Amanda Congdon, in which she left for ABCNews.com, this seems to be a similar play. Lindsay Campbell, WallStrip's hostess, discusses reasons for why stocks are hitting 52 week highs in a somewhat playful manner, looking at a company's customers, "man on the street" type interviews, and visits to a company's retail stores if any.

However, as many other bloggers have questioned, who is watching this? It's definitely an entertaining show, but true Wall Streeters won't have time to watch the 2-3 minute daily episodic. Even on Revver, where the show is hosted, the popularity of the show appears to be correlated with the subject matter. (Most watched is the ever popular Cramer, followed by AAPL (anything Apple is interesting), then of course Google, and then some of the pilot episodes). Alexa has WallStrip at 65,865. Surely better than Bud.tv, but worth $5 million? Others have speculated that CBS made the play to lock down charismatic host Lindsay Campbell, which could be true.

Regardless of reasoning, congratulations to the team at WallStrip for sticking it out and making it happen. Big questions remain though:
  • How WallStrip will continue to be distributed (via CBS.com?)
  • Monetization? (PreRoll, PostRoll?)
  • Demographics? (Who IS watching this?)
    The purchase gives hope to many of the other video blogs out there that would like to create some kind of liquidity event. I think execs at CBS were mainly into the content as opposed to the traffic and statistics. But the Internet definitely gives these execs (similar to film festival) a chance to see how content (which no one can predict) will do in front of an audience. I'm interested in hearing CBS's side to this story.....
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