Rocketboom goes mainstream, signs ad, distribution deal with Sony

Rocketboom is going mainstream.

The seminal newsy video blog, launched in October 2004, signed a reported seven-figure deal with Sony Pictures Television to distribute Rocketboom on Sony’s Crackle video site and across other Sony platforms such as the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation Portable, and Bravia I-Link televisions.

Sony also will handle all of Rocketboom’s ad sales, which is a load off Andrew Baron’s mind. Baron, the founder and producer of Rocketboom, said in an entry on his personal blog that dealing with advertising, while “fun to play,” was distracting as “every moment we spent on ads was a moment lost on the content.”

Baron’s blog post is a must-read as it gives a glimpse into what life has been like for Rocketboom the past three years. Not only is there content generation needs — from commenting on mainstream news to Internet culture and everything in between — but there’s the pesky business side, which most new media ventures struggle with. How do they make money?

Rocketboom certainly gets the award for being plucky. Baron once auctioned off Rocketboom ad space on eBay. Rocketboom also tried sponsorship programs, creating its own ads, inserting ads made by others into the show, signing up with startup ad companies like Federated Media and, and on and on.

“No one was ready because no one could sell out our inventory across all our our platforms,” Baron said.

Baron wanted to retain the rights to Rocketboom, something the financial news video blog WallStrip gave up a year ago when it was bought by CBS for $5 million. In the end, Rocketboom, which boasts up to 400,000 viewers a day to watch quirky hostess Joanne Colan read the “news,” made the deal with Sony Pictures Television because of its experience in TV and film, gaming, music, electronics, infrastructure, and support.

The deal with Sony allows Rocketeboom to continue its current distribution outlets through YouTube, iTunes, TiVo, and others.

“We now have one of the most prominent advertising solutions out there, along with increased distribution, a road map for expansion and a guarantee that I believe is an unprecedented deal for this space.”

And with Sony, who knows? Maybe there will be a Rocketboom game for the PS3 and PSP and Rocketboom: The Movie.


last100 is edited by Steve O'Hear. Aside from founding last100, Steve is co-founder and CEO of Beepl and a freelance journalist who has written for numerous publications, including TechCrunch, The Guardian, ZDNet, ReadWriteWeb and Macworld, and also wrote and directed the Silicon Valley documentary, In Search of the Valley. See his full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

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