I remembered just how much I missed BusinessWeek when the first issue of my new subscription arrived last weekend. I let my print subscription lapse several months ago, but after giving up on the hope that Amazon would offer it for the Kindle, I recently gave in to an offer (one year for $30) and I read this first issue cover to cover on a recent flight.
I'm mentioning it here because I also missed Jon Fine's excellent Media Centric columns. The one in the current issue is well worth reading as it talks about making money on web video. He raises one particularly important point:
If video on the Internet merely meant "television," as CBS Interactive CEO Quincy Smith puts it, then that network's top show, "CSI," would be its most popular online. (It isn't. Reality series "Survivor" is.)
and asks an equally intriguing question:
"What is the fantasy football for entertainment?"
The two are deeply intertwined. It's easy for us book publishers to think that our greatest hits in print should become our greatest hits online, but that logic misses the point. You've got to rank each title's ability to drive an community online. Some books have loads of potential while others have almost none.
Fantasy football is the perfect analogy. Twenty years ago, who would have thought there would be an entirely new industry like this built around the NFL? Heck, my own son is now a fantasy addict and he never cared about the NFL till a couple of years ago!
The question we have to ask ourselves is, "What sorts of titles, authors and other publishing properties most lend themselves to a fantasy football-like enthusiasm?" The answer may have no correlation to your best-selling print products.