Bridging Media Session Three: Monetize

Comments 3 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Monetize, Monetize, Monetize!

“Where’s the money? How do we get it? Changing the mentality of the traditional business model is the name of the game. Case study examples and conversation around how building an online presence and community strengthens producers’ abilities to monetize multi-media platforms and projects.” [Bridging Media – Session]


Jordan Behan: Tell Ten Friends and Strutta
James Sherrett: Work Industries
Jennifer Ouano: Elastic Entertainment
Monica Moore: Telefilm Canada

Kicking off the monetization talk, there’s an introduction about the history of websites and the idea of doing business online for an audience. The example given is the Seattle Mariners website, that was the first MLB team to have a website that featured ticket purchases and schedules. Early hurdles were as simple as getting a domain name that applied as their team name was already taken so it had to be bought out.

James is the first speaker who asserts making money is not a goal – having a valuable service, making money will follow – but it is an outcome. He also bring up an essay by Kevin Kelly about what you need to understand about the web that is different – essentially that the web is a copy machine. Jennifer follows up by stating she truly dislikes the term “monetization”. The focus should be how to get money to produce the content, followed by making money from that content. Just try concepts and “see what sticks.”

Jordan speaks to his experience selling print advertising – “local advertising works because it’s relevant to you.” He uses Google Ads as an example since they are relevant to what you have done when they are presented. Also, investors want a return on said investment therefor ads are an integral part of making that happen (as Jordan passes the mic to Monica from Telefilm). “How can we create a channel that allows the advertiser to find the audience it wants.” Which segues right into James talking about AdHack, which is basically user-generated advertising, using a sort of digital word of mouth. “Mass media and mass marketing to micro media and micro marketing.”

Comment from the audience, why is advertising the model that is being focused on when it comes to monetizing? He uses an example of how some people pay to not be bothered by something or to not see ads in the first place. Jennifer brings up the other option, which is funding, and passes the mic to Monica. “We want to see that the products that we finance get the eyeballs.”

The conversation is steering toward the effectiveness of advertising, but a comment from the audience brings it back to the fundamentals of monetizing and making money, which isn’t necessarily the same thing. Jennifer provides an example of adding value to the user experience through web marketing and media like creating an online game to captivate an audience and build a community that will coincide with the launch of a movie.

A rep from in the audience uses his company as an example to explain how they add value by producing TV-quality web videos available for the entire online world but his issue is that having that quality costs money. To get an audience you need to give content away, says Jordan, there has to be a return there.

Three comments from the audience then this session will wrap up. Carol asks Monica to speak about Telefilm and what they are doing for the community. From the audience, Boris asks, “what are you in the business of doing? You can build it first and bootstrap your way into getting funding to raise production values or maybe your business is getting contract video work. If you create good stuff and get it out and it’s generating millions or user views you may have people coming right to you.”

From the audience Monique also brings up the idea of subscription service, paying for that extra value ie. using a Flickr Pro account. Jennifer mentions that you first have to have something people will want to pay for and recognize as a good thing. Boris chimes in to say you can do it cheaper to begin with, and grow from there.

Erica goes back to talking about subscription service noting Club Penguin – a gaming site for children that the creators wanted to have free of advertising (which started out in BC then was bought out by Disney). They have games available for free and to have access to more features and more games, you then could pay for a subscription.

After a few more comments this session is coming to a close.

3 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. JamesTuesday, April 1st, 2008 — 11:13am PDT

    Thanks for the fine session write, Rebecca. It was lots of fun to do and hear people’s stories about trying to make their media businesses work on the web.

    The only thing I’d add would be a focus on returning to the central question that needs to get answered: what business are you in? And following on: What value are you creating? For who? How much will they pay for it?

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