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Making the leap from podcast to TV…should you?


What do you consider the measure of success? Is it becoming famous or possibly filthy rich? Is it power? How about a simply happy, content life?  In my opinion,  it’s different for everyone.  Marc and I have discussed this thoroughly and we’re pretty sure the “happy, content life” would be right up our alley (of course money helps with the happy part tooJ).   

So why am I asking this question? Well until recently Marc and I have been plugging along with our little video podcast, The Wood Whisperer, growing our audience, building relationships with sponsors and advertisers and honestly just enjoying  the roller coaster ride.  Then all of a sudden the question was asked “Have you ever thought of doing TV?”  I don’t think Marc or I thought when we started our podcast over a year ago that we would even be saying the word TV and The Wood Whisperer in the same sentence.  But there it is, someone asking us if we would like to shoot a “sizzle reel” (I’ll get to the terminology in a sec) for potential networks and sponsors.

Now while that particular opportunity doesn’t seem like it will pan out, it got me thinking.  How many of us podcasters (specifically video) want to “make it” on TV?  I ask this because Marc and I have discussed this very topic in great length and to be honest I’m not sure there is a right or wrong answer.  On one hand we are forging our own destiny and producing content the TV networks only wish they could do at the fraction of the cost.   Think about it, we are in the golden age of internet content; anyone can create anything and distribute it at a low to no cost.   And with the success of iTunes and various other aggregators, podcasts are becoming more and more mainstream by the day. 

So if technology is continuing to advance and we are finding new audience members every day; why would we ever go to an ‘old media’?  To quote someone in the industry, “TV is king!”  Ah yes, but for how long? Wouldn’t you like to put all of your effort into something that will surely be the hot new distribution medium and secure your place in history as one of the firsts instead of busting your butt, following someone else’s rules, and sacrificing your creative desires just so you can hear, “maybe we’ll get picked up by a network”.

The process of getting on television is quite stressful too.  In the past few weeks, Marc and I have learned a lot about the business side of making a TV show.  The best advice I can give if you are considering the jump, is to get a lawyer and get the details in writing (even if it’s just email).  Now to create a TV show,  you need a production company.  While Marc and I could easily create our own pilot or sizzle reel (clips of your show showing the best parts), I doubt we would have the time to shop the footage around due to our current Wood Whisperer obligations.   

To be honest, Marc and I have only gotten through the discussion phase, but I know if we decide to do TV we will learn more as we go (being very cautious of course).  So until I can blog more about our experience I’ll give you a recommendation on an excellent book that is full of great advice.  The book is called Starring You! The Insiders’ Guide to Using Television and Media to Launch Your Brand, Your Business, and Your Life.  Actually parts of this book could also be used for video podcasts (I’m sure that is what the Media in the title is referring too). 

I guess there are pros and cons on both sides.  Of course TV (if you can get there) will give you more exposure, but how far behind is internet content?  There have been some viral internet videos with numbers that would make a TV guy’s head spin with jealousy.  And its international to boot!  So do you think the general population is really aware of the great content that can be found on the internet?   I think we are well on our way.  The folks with Tivo’s and Apple TV’s already get it; it is just a matter of time before integration of podcasts on the television is the norm.

So again I come back to the question, do we as podcasters benefit from creating a television show?  I really wish I knew the answer. Who knows, if Marc and I agree on a deal with a producer you could see a version of The Wood Whisperer on television.  Then again maybe we’ll continue to build The Wood Whisperer and become one of the best damn video shows online!  What I do know is 2008 will be a very exciting and interesting year J

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6 thoughts on “Making the leap from podcast to TV…should you?

  1. tibtie says:

    Great Post Nicole. Tough question to answer. I think the internet is going to be up there with tv as far as exposure some day. You guys have some exciting things going on and it is going to be fun following you guys!


  2. elizabeth says:

    i think that vodcasts are better for potential international exposure, i’m from australia, and i really enjoy watching you and marc. if you were on some state only station in the US i would have never seen the wood whisperer. every time i watch marc make something i wish i had the space and money to set up some woodworking equipment for myself. i think you would maybe get more female viewers if you did end up making more episodes of everyday how to.
    good luck



  3. Rick Spiegel says:

    You may have long since abandoned this idea, given the age of the post, but…

    Thorny question, particularly in the context of a “happy, content life” – classic ‘old media’ vs. ‘mew media’. There have been some fascinating discussions on this very issue over on the TwIM podcast hosted by Daisy Whitney. You might want to follow her on Twitter if you’re not already.

    A critical consideration is how much control you’re willing to give up for incremental market share, what it does to your CPM, and what you can agree is the value to the TV producer (and to you) of making content with high production values, targeted at a focused loyal audience, available to them.

    Excepting ‘Wood Talk Online’, which is reminiscent of a chat with friends sitting around a table with a beer on a Saturday afternoon (Good Thing), yours is essentially visually focused content (just search for anything ‘woodworking’ on audible.com if you doubt that.)

    As such, before focusing too heavily on casting a wider (but unfocused) net, and the loss of control that entails, I’d suggest looking for the small investments you can make that would give you the biggest improvements in the production value of your current offering – perhaps a consideration as you rebuild the shop after your recent move.



  4. Jay says:

    I think your last paragraph sums it up perfectly. The problem with TV is as follows.
    Do the networks want to keep us.
    De we have the sponsors to back the show, which in turn keeps the networks interested.
    Are we going to be able to keep up with, and give the viewer what they want. Which points to the 2 above points.

    With the Internet setup, you find your own sponsors, you don’t have to worry about a network picking up the show.
    You have managed to build a large following already, and really don’t need a network telling you what you need, or have to do, or how long a show need to be to fit into a specified amount of time. If you want to go on vacation tomorrow, you can be free to do it, and still come back with no stress.

    TV would be dead if the current TV shows were available on line, and be able to watch on demand. The problem currently is the video quality is generally low grade. Even the major networks that air their shows on the net, still haven’t got it yet. iTunes video format is probably the best available currently, but I don’t want to pay for a commercial free episode. Therefore I don’t mind the commercials.

    My point is that as the bandwidth gets better, and more and more quality content comes along, TV as we know it will change big time.

    If you look at it. The Cable companies are like sorta like iTunes, but with limited categories. Depending on what you subscribe to, you can get more viewing options.

    To me if a network want to air a podcast, or series of podcasts, that puts you in control, and not the other way round.

    Best advice is to ask David Marks.


  5. Vic Hubbard says:

    I think being in the position of not “needing” the TV spot to happen gives you great leverage in using it’s potential for your own purposes. In today’s media I really see a TV show as a way of promoting online content, not the other way around. You and Marc already have proven success online and THAT makes you valuable to the TV execs. If you do decide to go that route, I know you’ll cover your ass(et)s well.


  6. Terry McKnight says:

    I found the Wood Whisperer website and podcasts as I needed to know how to setup my bandsaw. Had the show only been syndicated for US TV and not for international audiences (I live in the UK) I would not have been aware of The Wood Whisperer, nor would I have joined the Guild.
    The internet is a fantastic medium and if you do you down the TV route I hope that the internet podcasts and shows remain.



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