Reporters' Roundtable: Funny business (podcast)

Rafe Needleman interviews two experts on the business of online humor: Ben Huh, CEO of the Cheezburger Network, and Ryan Dolan, previously in business development at The Onion.

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Humor is serious business. This week, we have two entrepreneurs who prove it: Ben Huh, CEO of the Cheezburger Network, the company behind Failblog, ICanHazCheezburger, ThereIFixedIt, and other sites you've probably wasted your lunch hours on; and Ryan Dolan, previously in business development at The Onion, now making a go of it with his own business, 30Watt, which sells funny products like those at PrankPack.

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Reporters' Roundtable #10: Funny business

Show notes and talking points...

Intros - Ben - What is the Cheezburger Network?

Ryan - What is 30watt?

How do you start a business based on humor? Do you have to be funny?

Original content vs crowdsourcing.

Onion News Network video - costs of doing.

In general media, who's the king of funny? What can learn in the online world from this?

Discuss the attention span of the Web surfer? How to take advantage of that. Long form or short?

What's the business model?

Will people pay for content directly (subscriptions or micropayments)?

Do you target specific audiences or go general?

Boundaries, or "The economics of good taste;" Discuss NSFW or adult content

How expensive is it to produce good funny content?

Spin-offs - what works?

How do you get a deal with a major media company. And should you?

"Hey, I'm funny! Can I work for you? How much can I make?"

What's the future of online humor?

What's next for your businesses?

Next time: In honor of Thanksgiving, Turkey tech business ideas with Jim Kerstetter of CNET and Charlie Cooper of CBS News.

Watch my Twitter feed for updates.

Feedback to our new email address, roundtable@cnet.com.