Interview with Jeremy Wright, President, b5media

Yesterday, we sat down virtually with Jeremy Wright, President of b5media about their new partnership with VIP Fan Clubs.

Tell us a little about this deal and what it means for b5media?

So the deal is fairly basic at this point. We’re launching some blogs with a company called VIP Fan Clubs. We bring great writers and good traffic to the table, and they bring some really passionate fans to the table. We’re hopeful that ultimately what will happen is that the two communities will engage one another and feed one another.

Fundamentally we believe this is important for the blog network industry. We don’t want to say this is going to shift the entire industry, because it’s not. But it’s a really interesting experiment, and one we want to see play out.

Do you see future co-branded blog opportunities like this for b5media?

Definitely. I believe that the more we can provide value in terms of content and traffic, the more major companies will see that it’s a no-brainer decision. Free content. Free management. Free technology. Free support. All they have to do is provide permission, access and reciprocal advertising. It really is a low-key kind of partnership and is definitely something we want to see increase and improve.

Can you shed some light into what the next six months will bring for
the b5media network?

Ha. Well, there are a number of things we’re looking at doing. Internally, we see the 3 key priorities over the next 6 months as community, advertising and platform. I don’t really want to get too much more into the items, for fear of giving away where we’re going, but we do believe that we need to engage, participate in and create communities; that we need to provide greater advertising value; and that our platform needs to be more scaleable, more managed and more integrated.

Many are proclaiming the coming death of blog networks before the
year’s out – what’s your thoughts about this?

While anything is possible, it’s certainly not something that we’re seeing. I’m not going to say where we’re at stats-wise, but it’s certainly at a healthy level.

Realistically, we’ve been saying for 4-6 months that there was consolidation, failure and innovation coming to the industry. There are still more than 100 blog networks out there. And there is a growing valley between the “haves” and “have-nots” in the blog network industry.

So, yes, lots of shakeups coming. Lots of consolidation. Lots of failures. Lots of new ideas.

That’s different than proclaiming the death of an industry. I think some watchers are seeing this coming change and calling it death, but really it’s just a healthy part of all cycles. All industries go wide, then the best players survive and thrive. Typically, though, there are only 2-5 “big” companies and a dozen small ones.

Playing as a small one can work, but the reality is that there simply isn’t enough space in any industry for hundreds of companies to succeed, survive and thrive.

Obviously we’d like b5media to be one of those companies that do survive and thrive, but ultimately it will be down to great strategy and kickass execution. So let’s see where the industry is at in a year, and see which strategy, and which execution style really works.

Care to comment on your venture capital aspirations for b5media?

Sure! Our VC aspirations are to get 100M$ and to return that 100x to our investors ;-) Too bad aspirations are different than reality!

Thanks to Jeremy and the b5media gang for taking the time for this interview!

View Comments (10)
  • Good assessment from Jeremy. I would add there are many variations to the norm, and we shouldn’t necessarily get caught up in one model. At Syntagma we’re experimenting with a range of ideas that would take us beyond the “pure-blood” notion of a blog network.

    like Jeremy, we’re looking for ways of working with others in our broad-brush field of operation, namely, high-end, distinctive topics, classily executed. We’re currently meshing (nothing defined) with a great publishing house and cross-linking in many ways. Directors blogging for us, promoting their products, they publishing our books etc.

    One thing’s for sure, it’s not the staid and boring networks who’ll survive, but those who provide the most intriguing content for their target audience and, above all, retain the capacity to surprise.

  • John,
    There’s no need to hijack Jeremy’s interview by interviewing yourself in the blog comments. Instead bring something great to the table and discuss it like so.

    With every “failure” there is sucess. Have their been any “failures” within b5 that have challenged you guys to create a better product or to do something differently. And if/when you guys get VC funding do you see yourself going through another huge growth stage like last year?

  • David/Cowpoke,

    Thank you for your advice. You are certainly a reformed character. For myself, I take “conversation” to mean carrying the discussion forward, not back.

    Have a nice day. :-)

  • David, we’ve definitely learned a lot. Some things in terms of how we treat people, some in terms of ownership, some on the technical side, and some on the business side.

    I’d hope that we’d been able to head off most issues when they were small, but the reality is that not even the world’s best companies do that. So, yeah, definitely more than a handful of “failures”. But, we’d like to think that we try and learn from those :)

    In terms of growth plans for the future, I’m not entirely sure. I mean, if the TV show thing pans out, maybe we do one for every show in north america? Who knows.

    It’s really hard to say. Ultimately, readers, bloggers and passion will drive decisions more than anything else, which I believe will keep us pretty close to the “right” path, even if we do occasionally stumble, trip or get lost along the way :)

  • Just to add to this that I think Jeremy’s assessment is spot on, this whole “death” meme (of blog networks) is highly over rated in terms of accuracy, the space is no different to any other, for example I read on Techcrunch yesterday that there was something like 130 odd Youtube style video sharing sites out there now…of course most won’t survive, and the same in true in blog networks, although I’d think the long tail in blogging provides more opportunities, but as Jeremy said, there will be a core set of larger networks, a dozen or so smaller networks once the space starts to consolidate (which it already has…look no further than Fine fools :-) )

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