Sunday, April 12, 2009

Getting Current (as in TV)

PE Hub reported that, to no surprise, Current.TV withdrew its planned IPO. The company recently came to mind while reading Jeff Howe's wonderful book, Crowdsourcing. It has a nice description of Current's travails, while they were looking to establish a business in the prosumer video niche. The book details the Company's attempt to 'democratize media' by attracting and nurturing a community of posters, reviewers and viewers.

The book is a must read for those interested in community based businesses and has a number of 'rules of thumb' that are always quotable, and sometimes even right. My favorite here is the 1-10-89 rule. For each person who posts content, 10 will comment, and 89 will view.

Current had a rocky beginning and, similar to many young companies, zigged and zagged before taking down their site in '07 and relaunching with a firm community embrace around news, entertainment and gaming. The content is a mixture of Professional (e.g. CNN and National Enquirer) and prosumer. Little things, such as welcoming members and empowering the community to vote on videos went a long way to establishing the company. Though, based on the Quantcast numbers below (if accurate), I suspect the company is having a difficult time bringing revenues, or attracting more capital.

Here's a sample of one of the Current videos 'The Rotten Tomatoes Show'

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