Jim Long - Digital Media and Culture

CBS Finds Value In Niche Market Media

Wallstrip, the online financial news show where “stock culture meets pop culture”, has been purchased by CBS Interactive for a price tag reported to be far less than the rumored $5 million. Wallstrip announced the news on their show in typically tongue in cheek fashion, asking CBS employees about the deal on the sidewalk in front of “Black Rock”


CNET reports that it was CBS Interactive president, and former Silicon Valley M&A maverick, Qunicy Smith that sealed the deal. In a NewTeeVee article by Liz Gannes, Wallstrip’s distribution and syndicaton are reported as favorable considerations in CBS’ decision to buy the show. As Wallstrip puts it: “Watch Wall Strip where YOU want!” Here’s a snip of Wallstrip chief Howard Lindzon’s reaction to the deal:

I am dipping my toes tomorrow. I like their syndication strategy and I am bullish on Quincy and the Interactive Division of course.

I am looking forward to making Wallstrip better every day. Congrats to the Wallstrip team for their hard work and our investors for their sheer genius. Awesome day.

-Howard Lindzon


This points to two trends that this content creator hopes to take advantage of:

  • Independent content creators are creating real audience/value in niche market content.
  • Big media sees that value and is choosing to partner with the best and brightest producers.

Now big media companies can sit back watch while savvy media makers bootstrap their content business models, and then simply come by waving cash and cherrypick the best. Call me old fashioned, but I like the sound of that! Here’s a sneak peak at one of the niche market content plays Verge New Media is creating.


Another emerging trend in the niche market content space is the rise of the aggregators like Network2.TV and Next New Networks. The team at Next New Networks seems very happy with their recent tip of the hat from TechCrunch. Surprisingly TechCrunch made no mention of Jetset, which I’ve often praised here as very smart interntet community TV. Next New Networks describes their model this way:

Next New Networks had some simple goals in launching: be authentic voices of the communities we launch networks around; build networks around online emerging television with web features that allow others to share, contribute and distribute; and be dependable and reliable

I have to wonder though, what is the value (read deal) for the content creator/micro-media-mogul, of aligning with a Next New Network. Wallstrip is an example of going it alone and bootstrapping. Maybe there is merit in that strategy for the entrepreneurially inclined.

So who will be the next small TV acquistion headline? Maybe it will be the surreal, sexy, sci-fi stylings of Galaciticast, or the hip, twenty-something web comedy Something to Be Desired. I think niche market web content is a HUGE sandbox that is creating tremendous opportunity for micro media moguls. I suspect content that Verge New Media has in the pipeline will be part of that mix, creating value in niche market content.

Finally, Amanda Chapel, of Strumpette, was recently sighted on Twitter describing value like this:

value is based on standards; standards are vetted by hierarchy. A bank is a bank for reason and that’s where the money is
– Amanda Chapel via Twitter

Privately, she added this: (and agreed that I publish it)

branding, seduction, under promise and over deliver. Ya can’t go wrong.

Apparently value, and money, can also be found in niche market content created by savvy, agile new media startups. Look for more of that from me and form legions of other media makers. Who do you think are the new micro media moguls to watch this year?

  • http://blog.nextnewnetworks.com Tim

    I think the main reason JETSET wasn’t mentioned in the TechCrunch article was that the TC article took most of its content from a press release Veoh put out (about a deal with us) that didn’t include JETSET. That’s just the way things happen and you can’t control what people write aout you. We feature JETSET highly in everything we do, but they were already on Veoh, so Veoh didn’t put them in their release.

    As for Wallstrip — remember that they went 9 months building their audience out of their own pockets. Whenever I meet someone who can do that, I recommend they do just that. We’re not necessarily a fit for everyone — and probably especially not for people like the Wallstrip gang (who have become good friends) who are entrepreneurial and willing to start up on their own. We’re here to work with the people who think they can get bigger faster by joining up with us and having some support and collaboration. The Wallstrip deal’s like winning the lottery — and we’re glad for them — but most people are taking a big risk when they launch a show online, us included.

  • vergenewmedia

    Tim thank you for stopping by and continuing the discussion. Perhaps i woreded the question poorly. By “what is the value” or deal, I meant what PRECISELY is the arrangement? As a micro media mogul in the making, I need to consider ALL viable options as i build a media business. So I suspect you and I should talk offline!

  • Pingback: It’s official: CBS bought Wallstrip | News Videographer()

  • http://www.somethingtobedesired.com Justin Kownacki

    Will STBD be the new hotness? People have been wondering that about us and Galacticast for quite awhile now. I wonder how many nights it takes before you cease to be an overnight sensation and become an “about time”…

    And, in the meantime, we all keep plugging away because, high-powered production deal or not, we still enjoy doing what we do. (Thank god.)

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  • http://www.drewlevin.info/drewslevin-tmc.htm Drew Levin

    Very informative article, thanks for the post and all the great comments.

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