New Media Business Models

Many people have questioned whether or not there is a possible business model in new media. Looking for not only a sustainable one but profitable as well. Doing what I do best, wasting time on Internets, I have discovered and named four highly successful ones.

Punchbowl Model
Based on a series of YouTube clips called Trent from Punchy this model involves producing free non commercial content. An extension of the brand is then developed, in this case tees and other merchandise. In just three weeks profits from tees have been reported as $15,000. Considering the low production cost, immensely successful.

Ninja Model
Perhaps the most common model, and based on the Ask A Ninja series, free content is produced which is sponsored. This award winning series would be pulling in a substantial amount of profit based on high audience numbers. Note they are also using the Punchbowl Model with DVD and book extensions.

Gervais Model
This model involves production of free content for a limited time. After a certain period, the content is taken down where it must be paid for to access. This highly targets the innovators and early adopters and usually relies on strong word of mouth. The Ricky Gervais Podcast has reportedly made millions by charging just a small amount with many downloads. This technique was used in the recently successful Dr. Horrible series. Note that in case of The Ricky Gervais Podcast they also used the Ninja Model with the original content being sponsored.

Radiohead Model
Based on the recent release of Radiohead’s album In Rainbows, content is available for free where consumers have the option to pay. Critics have argued that this was only successful because it had never been done before but this model has also been used successfully by the band Nine Inch Nails. The model usually requires a loyal following. Note that In Rainbows is no longer available, also categorising them in the Gervais Model.

There are two common themes in these four models. The first is remarkable content. None of these can be successful without content that is both highly entertaining and easily spreadable. The second is the lack of a middleman, no record labels, producers or publishers. Instead, the product goes straight from the producer to the consumer.

What models do you think are missing from this list? Do you have any examples that fall into the current four?

No Comments
  • Julian Cole
    Posted at September 23, 2008 3:46pm, 23 September Reply

    Another one for the Gervais model is Ask a ninja, who have just come out with a book but offer the audiobook for free; just listened to their interview on Managing the Grey podcast (i.e no social plagiarism here) *cough latest marketing today podcast cough*

  • Ben Shepherd
    Posted at October 5, 2008 8:18pm, 05 October Reply

    I think this area is really interesting … and love the fact that people are thinking outside the box (ie adsense or blah display) on ways to monetise web content.

    The billion dollar question is how you apply these 4 models to sites that potentially don’t have the ability to embrace these 4.

    I’m thinking of sites like myspace, The Age, ESPN – or utility sites like Hotmail, Digg … I think these models work well with higher involvement sites that people are legitimately passionate about (like Ask a Ninja, WLTV, Tiki Bar, Gervais etc) but can they work with the majority of web content (heavily skewed by search referrals, informational etc)

    Good blog btw – very interesting.

  • Zac Martin
    Posted at October 5, 2008 8:28pm, 05 October Reply

    @ Ben

    Arguably, a site like Hotmail uses the Ninja Model with free access supported by banner ads and other interruption media. This is obviously quite limited, whereas relevant sponsorship or better integration would be ideal.

    I think you are right and it’s a really good question. Until someone without a passionate following cracks this properly, these models won’t hit critical mass.

    Thanks for the kind words.

  • Business Consultant
    Posted at August 9, 2010 10:43pm, 09 August Reply

    I just want to say that great idea. Thanks

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