Adam Carolla, you remember him from the 90s hit Loveline, right? How about The Man Show? Yeah, you know him (sort of)! In fact, that maybe his new media cache; everyone knows him, sort of.
Well CBS certainly had high hopes for him two years ago when they gave him his own radio show, The Adam Carolla Show, which was nationally syndicated to 11 markets. Their greatest hope was that he would replace NBC rival Howard Stern, who left his own national radio show in 2006 to join satellite radio station Sirius XM Radio.
Unfortunately the show did not quite work out for Adam and February 20th, his last show aired. Since then Carolla has started a new, self funded venture that— while is does not currently command the same audience he once had on his radio show—boasts some of the most stellar ratings in the history of the medium. Carolla’s podcast—an hour long, rambling interview that MediaMemo calls “laugh out loud”—already has 400,000 subscribers. To put this into perspective, the only shows that rival his download numbers are from big media companies such as NPR, Time Warnerâ€™s HBO and Discovery Communications. Carolla’s on the other hand are all produced independently with the help of his assistant. The show costs an estimated $3,000 a month to produce—most of the cost is from bandwidth bills—but his actual revenue from the show is currently zero.
Why? It’s probably not what you think. Find out more after the jump
Unlike other digital media enterprises Adam’s lack of revenue is not because he can not figure out how to make money, it’s because he is currently under a non-compete contract with CBS that forbids him from making any money from radio programs similar to those he did with his former employer until the end of the year. Unbeknownst to the media conglomerate, this clause may help create the first profitable business model in new media history. C
Other companies who have tried have had a tough go at it. “I think that he’s going to have a tough time,” Marc Horine, VP at ESPN Digital Media, told MediaMemo. Horine oversees a stable of podcasts that were downloaded about 8 million times a month last year. According to him, even with the ESPN brand, the company has only been able to turn that into a “7-figure-plus” business.
Regardless hopes are buoyed by Carolla’s initial success in gaining listeners. Now he has one year to figure out a business model that will turn our digital media hopes into legitimate digital media business.