See Amanda Run

NYT: Amanda Congdon is a big star on really small screens – like the 4½- inch window she appears in on computer monitors every weekday morning or the 2½ inches she has to work with on the new video iPod. Ms. Congdon, you see, is the anchor of a daily, three-minute, mock TV news report shot on a camcorder, edited on a laptop and posted on a blog called Rocketboom, which now reaches more than 100,000 fans a day.
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What makes Rocketboom so different from most of the other video blogs, or vlogs, that have popped up in the last year or so is that the daily episodes are consistently entertaining. With Mr. Baron, 35, the designer who created the site and films the episodes, Ms. Congdon, 24, has fashioned a quirky, charming persona, with an inventive take on the news that is closer in spirit to Letterman than CNN.
It’s not just cool, though, it’s prescient. The vlog has been up and running for 14 months, but it’s only in the last two that Web video has become new media’s favorite new medium – since Apple Computer’s iTunes online store began stocking vlogs, calling them video podcasts and making it easy to download them for free viewing on the new iPods. In fact, the day Steve Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, introduced the video iPod to developers, he showed a playlist of video podcasts on his computer. Rocketboom was at the top.
In case you’re wondering, it has occurred to Mr. Baron and Ms. Congdon that they just might be sitting on a gold mine. At a cost of about $20 an episode, they reach an audience that some days is roughly comparable in size to that of, say, CNN’s late, unlamented “Crossfire” political debate show. They have no background in business, but Jeff Jarvis, who tracks developments in technology and culture on his blog, BuzzMachine.com (and who has served as a consultant to The New York Times on Web matters), pointed out to them that they might be able to charge $8,000 for an interactive ad at the end of the show, which would bring in about $2 million annually.

About David Burn

Fired up to write it down. Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. Chief storyteller at Bonehook, a guide service and bait shop for brands.