Money in new media: Some inspirational figures

I’ve found some interesting facts and figures recently showing how some new media pioneers are making a tidy sum of money off this internet thing…

Matthew Inman, creator of the webcomic The Oatmeal, chose to make his money through merchandise:

At a coffeeshop near his home in Seattle’s mildly funky Fremont neighbourhood—signs proclaim Fremont “The Center of the Universe”—Mr Inman says that sales have been rocketing during the holiday season. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, whose first day is known in the retail world as Black Friday, a discount sale grossed $70,000 from purchases of T-shirts, mugs and posters. Mr Inman raked in nearly $4,000 in sales on a single day earlier this month as Christmas shipping deadlines approached. A more typical weekday produces $1,000 in revenue.

via Online cartoons: Pease porridge hot – economist.com

The article also says that he gets 3 to 4.5 million viewers per month. (There’s a rather harsh parody of Oatmeal’s style on Unfunny Things that might be of interest if you want to try and imitate his success.)

Meanwhile, Leo Laporte has built a podcasting (or netcasting) empire with TWiT:

Advertisers, especially technology companies, appreciate Mr. Laporte’s reach. Mark McCrery, chief executive of Podtrac, which is based in Washington, and measures podcast audiences and sells advertising, said TWIT’s advertising revenue doubled in each of the last two years and was expected to total $4 million to $5 million for 2010.

Starting at $40 per thousand listeners, TWIT’s ad rates are among the highest in American podcasting and are considerably higher than commercial broadcasting rates, which are typically $5 to $15 per thousand listeners.

via Leo Laporte Builds Empire With ‘This Week in Tech’ – nytimes.com

If you listen to any TWiT podcasts you will hear that Leo Laporte and the other hosts give a lot of airtime to the advertisements. Leo is a very affable character, and he presents each commercial as a personal endorsement. I’m certain this is the key ingredient in the success of TWiT.

Ebook devices like the Kindle have made authors reconsider the possibilities of self-publishing too. Joe Konrath is convinced the time is right to cut out the traditional publishing model. He compares some rough figures:

Self-Pubbing
Two years of extra sales (the submission time and the time to publication) = $48,000
Three years of sales beyond that @ $24k per year = $72,000
Total five year earnings for self pubbing = $120,000

Traditional Pubbing
Advance = $100,000. But the agent takes $15k, and the advance is broken up into three payments of $57,000 each over three years
Five years of sales = $0 (a $100,000 advance, in today’s market, with bookstores closing all around and ebook royalties at 17.5%, will never earn out)
Total five year earnings = $85,000

via You Should Self-Publish – jakonrath.blogspot.com

There’s also rather a lot of money to be made from supporting your work with advertising, but here is a cautionary tale:

On Monday the 13th of December – two weeks before Christmas – I was sacked by a Google algorithm.

It sent an email to me and summarily killed my main source of income.  No humans were involved in this process at all. It was, literally, the most inhumane letting go I have ever experienced.

As well as ‘letting me go’ the Google Algorithm also confiscated all my earned income October 31st to December 13th. Tough indeed – and no human has ever done that to me; they have always paid me for work done.

Then twio days before Christmas I got a letter from my bank saying that the check for October – worth £1,700 had been stopped.

That is £3,700 gone from my family fiancés in the two weeks before Chisitmas.

Welcome to the world of Google. Kafka would be proud of Google, whilst Orwell would be perfectly unsurprised.

via Adsense, no sense at all – what it’s like being sacked by a computer… – duckworksmagazine.com

Picture up top from The Oatmeal.

Update 2011.12.31: Curiously, theoatmeal.com no longer hosts that ‘How to get on the Reddit homepage’ story I linked to above. Instead it is mirrored on various Oatmeal-esque domains like marvelousmanboobs.com.

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