A boom in magazine coverage of online video

A boom in magazine coverage of online video: Is this a “niche boom” leading indicator…or a lagging one? Wired does Eric Bauman of eBaum’s World and Forbes does a lot of stories about YouTube.

Quote from the Wired story about eBaum’s World:

“Viral media is all the rage these days, and Bauman runs one of the few viral sites actually making money. Without spending a penny on direct advertising, he’s turned the high school hobby he ran out of his bedroom into one of the Internet’s top-ranked humor sites, getting 1.2 million hits a day. There’s a television pilot in the can, a book deal in negotiation, and a potential pact to bring eBaum content to cell phones. Annual ad revenue has doubled over the past year to $10 million, and the only overhead is bandwidth and salaries: Bauman is becoming a rich man. He has 30 employees who handle the coding, marketing, financial affairs, and assorted office details. He drives a shiny black Porsche Carrera. Besides gobbling up real estate around town and gas wells in Kentucky, he sponsors heavyweight boxing champ Hasim “the Rock” Rahman.”

I don’t know. There’s just something dejavuee-sounding about all of this.

However, as I’ve noted, until some of these companies are in the publicly traded marketplace, we won’t get to witness any “bust” portion of this drama — at least as the term applies to the economic cycle of boom and bust. No doubt, there will be many, many failures of the 10th and 30th and 100th version of “YouTube” for pet owners, but early and venture money being blown by startups does not a bust make.

Or, perhaps a true, small business, cottage industry can emerge where videographers and niche media firms can generate healthy margins without having to reach a mass scale. I think that’s the more interesting possibility — and story. That a company like Bauman’s can generate that type of revenue with such a low overhead is a big deal. From my in-house research, I believe eBaum’s World is to a 12-15 year old boy today what Mad magazine was 40 years ago. Except Mad paid the talent…and then owned the content. I’m sure that means nothing to Bauman. He’s going “what, me worry?” all the way to the bank.

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