Money makes the world go around (Beyond Broadcast I)


The Mapping Where’s the money? panel* here (warning error-prone as-live blogging ahead) at Beyond Broadcast – Diane Mermigas (Mediapost) totally gets it about the fact that the challenges to public and commercial media are the same. I’m not sure I agree with her on all the ideas for public broadcasters should make money in what she calls the “Consumer-Centric Public Media’s Interactive Sphere” see image at left, paper here), but they’re definitely smart.

Keith Hopper (Public Interactive): my advice to you: focus on getting more online users. User interaction is the new currency. The best stuff on the web is free. Follow the model of successful online sites: build user base first, monetize later. You need real interaction, people downloading stuff, remixing, discussing. No users means no money. Lastly, if you monetize first and build users later, you can corrupt your environment, people will get turned off.

Craig Reigel, (Nonprofit Finance Fund): “Bringing in revenue needs to be decriminalized.” He doesn’t care whether it’s donations or ads (hmm) he just wants us to get busy getting the important stuff we do funded.

Vince Stehle, (Surdna Foundation): Compares Radiohead model to public brodcasting (shortened by the folks here to “pubcasting” which sounds too much like pubcrawling to me). Commercial media are more challenged, but they may be adapting more quickly. What if you’re not a superstar, how does that work? Take Colby Calais she was working in a tanning salon. She got a recording contract after 10 million free downloads of her music on MySpace. Look to what we can do in public media to dramatically reexamine our business model(s). Where is our 99 cent Itunes model – how do we let folks do micropayments? (Doc Searls’ gang will fix this.) Too early to say we can’t raise money online. Look at the progression from Dean to Obama.

Ernest Wilson, (Annenberg): An interjection of pessimism: Let’s not forget what we’re talking about here is the BASIS of democracy. If people in this room don’t get it right soon, democracy will suffer and it will be our fault. (He bangs the table for effect!) We need to create dialogue, discussion, serve the underserved. Our beloved local stations especially, possibly the last local voices in many communities, are not doing it. If we don’t change that quickly, our democracy will be poorer for it. Get people out of our silos!! (GO, Dr. Wilson, GO!) He lists 4 silos: print, digital media folks, public broadcasting, and commercial. (I would add a 5th non-profit civil society silo, myself) He says public broadcasting is serving people well from birth to age 7, ignores folks till they’re 47, and then serves them from age 47 till shortly after their death. Big laugh line.

Mermigas leads an active discussion on how to light a fire under the asses of public broadcasting. Mentions VRM work on the funding question. She and Wilson are relentless about the need for the people in the room to get relevant fast. Stehle: you need to help each other, build up each other’s sites and networks. I tell my neighbor this panel should have been called not “Mapping the Money” but “Speaking Truth to Ostriches.”

self-promotional P.S. Gave a supershort (they are actually keeping to SCHEDULE here, what an idea) chat on the current versions of Media Re:public conclusions and recommendations. Sildes are here:…

*1:45pm – 3:00pm Roundtable Discussion: Mapping the Money
Conversation Leader:
Diane Mermigas, Editor-at-Large, Media Post
Henry Jenkins, Director of the Comparative Media Studies Program, MIT
Keith Hopper, Product Manager, Public Interactive
Craig Reigel, Vice President, Western Region, Nonprofit Finance Fund
Vince Stehle, Program Officer for the Nonprofit Sector Initiative, Surdna Foundation
Ernest J. Wilson, Walter Annenberg Chair in Communication and dean of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California

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Grantee roundup (Knight@MIT’s Center for Future Civic Media 3)
Yo, public media, remember the rest of us (Beyond Broadcast II)

1 Comment

  1. Media Re:public » Blog Archive » Yo, public media, remember the rest of us (Beyond Broadcast II)

    August 21, 2008 @ 7:43 pm


    […] 46, media age of country is 36, media age of Latinos is 26. Riff on Dean Wilson’s comment of yesterday: Actually pubcasting serves all people from ages 1-7 but if you’re black or brown they […]