Consider this post fueled by whatever you will – I find it very important and worthwhile. I’m going to set aside all of the technical problems everyone has already mentioned with the video distribution and the ABC platform – the fact that there are no RSS feeds, the video scrolls have been turned off, one is forced to view long, irrelevant pre-roll ads that outlast many people’s curiosity and especially the closed platform with no mobile or local potential.
In other-words, the only difference between this video platform and one from say, 1997, is that for this one, the video does play.
I’m going to suggest that the greatest problem with this project however has to do with the severely expensive resources that are being used for a product that can be much more valuable for a mere fraction of the effort and costs.
My question is, how much money did it take to do this?
Also, if all of the effort only goes into a once-a-week show, how effective and interested are the people behind the show to take so much time and money to do so little?
For instance, we know they are probably paying Amanda Congdon a professional salary. They are also paying two senior level producers for this. Then there is at least one editor, a camera person (unless one of the producers is a camera person), lighting tech, audio guy, all with premium ‘ABC’ salaries. I am just speculating, perhaps I have missed some.
In addition to that, the entity ABC needs to make revenue (beside the people), yet they also have at least one rep that works with Congdon besides the producers and other production staff. Surely they have someone who works on the website if not a section of a team. Amanda’s agent needs a professional share. Amanda’s manager needs some. They obviously have a very aggressive PR team too (which they will definitely need to drive people to the show). Lets not forget the advertisers! They are the ones supporting this and because so many people need to get paid such high salaries, the advertisers need to get paid most of the real-estate of the website. In turn, ABC must pay to advertise to drive people to these advertisements. In many ways, this scenario is typical of one where the advertisers are way more important than the show itself. The show is just a tool for ad sales, after all.
The point I want to make is this: There are probably WAY too many people needed to pull off this one 5 minute production exclusively for a small low-bitrate flash file on one website.
This kind of spending can have it’s place. A company like ABC could perhaps use their expensive resources to produce content that needs expensive resources. Was there special access gained? Was there need for expensive equipment? Travel expenses? 3 producers?
No, there was no sign of any need for any of the above that I could see.
While people often assume I am anti-established media, I have always believed and said the best way to get through these times is to work together closely and thats what I have always done.
Meeting Joanne and bringing her experienced talents and resources into Rocketboom has been the best thing that ever happened to Rocketboom since it began.
In ABC’s case though, they are not working with any new conventions or gaining any “new media property” or collaboration and simultaneously, they are putting themselves at odds with everyone participating (see first paragraph above) especially by spending even more money on leeching:
This could also warrant more spending via a legal buffer in the budget due to the false advertising claims about the show being “daily” <-I tease of course. . . but paying to intercept people searching for Rocketboom?. . . perhaps the greatest expense of all could be the loss of brand value and respect from playing the fake taxi driver who preys on visitors that don't speak the language.
I’m feeling a bit disillusioned.