During each bitcoin bull run, new opportunities arise. The current volatility is due to an influx of institutional investors and large payment service providers such as PayPal and Mastercard.
But why are they here? Much of the recent enthusiasm is due to the large and vociferous audience formed by various frontline organizations: Crypto media companies that have spent the last few years educating millions of early adopters about the trillion dollar crypto market as a whole.
Jun Yang Wong, co-chair of the Association of Cryptocurrency Journalists and Researchers, a nonprofit that promotes quality journalism and research on cryptocurrencies and blockchains, told Cointelegraph that the bull run is creating a new audience:
CoinDesk was launched during the bull market of 2013, when bitcoin went from $10 to $100. I was writing for CoinDesk at the time, and we were benefiting greatly from the rise in the price of bitcoin. I remember BBC News and CNN calling us asking for the bitcoin CEO because CoinDesk was the first result for the news source. At that time, people had no idea what bitcoin was.
He also noted that the existing crypto media has doubled down and grown, as each increase creates a stronger and more resilient ecosystem. According to independent analysts, Cointelegraph’s audience alone has more than doubled to over 20 million views per month since the end of 2020.
Newly formed media
A number of new cryptocurrencies were created in 2020-2021. Blockworks – the financial media brand behind the hit podcast Pomp – recently launched a cryptocurrency-focused news site to help professional investors understand bitcoin and digital currencies.
Jason Yanowitz, co-founder of Blockworks, told Cointelegraph that the company’s revenue had fallen by 80% by March 2020. Janowitz said it’s an anxious time for the Brooklyn-based company, which was founded in 2018:
We went back to basics and addressed our core audience of hedge funds, financial advisors and more traditional capital markets professionals interested in digital assets. Our main conclusion is that to date there is no single source of information for these investors.
Janowitz explained that from April to December 2020, he and his team worked daily on a new Blockworks media site to solve this persistent problem. Bitcoin is more relevant today than ever. It’s time for a media site that links bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to a global macro discussion – that’s Blockworks, he noted.
In contrast, Ran Neuner, host of CNBC’s Crypto Trader, told Cointelegraph that he recently launched the world’s first live crypto broadcaster, a platform clearly aimed at a growing audience of individuals and semi-professionals. According to Neuner, the live stream of a crypton news platform has never existed before. He found this problematic, explanatory:
If you want live information about the stock market, you can get it on CNBC or other major channels. But there was no streaming information for cryptography. You have to be on Twitter or Telegram to get this information, but those platforms are so full of noise they’re useless.
As a result, Neuner launched Crypto Banter on YouTube, which he describes as a combination of Bloomberg and CNBC – a source of reliable yet entertaining information on crypto. In addition, Neuner is talking about a Friday night show called Big Banter, where listeners can dial in and chat directly with Neuner and his guests. This is the future of media and, of course, the future of crypto, Neuner noted.
Dr. Neuner raised an important point about interactivity. Deloitte’s Media & Entertainment Industry Outlook to 2021 report notes that today’s streaming platforms must first and foremost focus on customer needs: To improve customer loyalty, they need to respond to their concerns and preferences through a content window, differentiated pricing, tailored services and social experiences.
The social experiment resonates with Nuener. He explained that he had previously attempted to broadcast the CNBC show on YouTube, but that viewers had not responded well to the broadcast on the non-TV platform. Our audience wants short, quick, interactive content where they can respond to and discuss program topics with us.
Neuner suggested that the venerable brand made the mistake of trying to develop a serious television experience for the crypto audience when it launched CoinDesk TV. CoinDesk TV, which reportedly cost the company more than $5 million to launch, offers TV-like programming with live guests and hosts around the clock in locations ranging from New York to South Korea, the United Kingdom to Spain, according to a recent article.
While it is difficult to predict the success of the recently launched platform, Neuner noted that the target market for cryptocurrencies is different. They don’t respond well to uneducated media. Our approach is much more informal and fun, but also robust and polished.
Established restructuring of cryptographic editions for growth
In addition to new publications and platforms, established crypto media outlets have also taken new steps to prepare for future growth.
Crypto Briefing, the news and research publication founded during the bull run of 2017-18 that also spawned Decrypt and The Block, recently appointed Mitchell Moos, its former editor-in-chief, as CEO. Moos told Cointelegraph that the move is similar to Cointelegraph’s decision to appoint former editor Jay Cassano as CEO. We follow the example of the Montelegraphs. Jay Cassano started in the newsroom and now leads the publication.
According to Moos, distrust of media companies seems to have reached a peak. A recent year-long survey by the Pew Research Center confirms this, showing that 75 percent of American adults believe it is possible to increase Americans’ trust in the news media. Moos explained:
This is partly a conflict of interest between advertisers, owners and readers. Employing journalists is a good way to refocus publications on the public interest.
Moos also noted that Crypto Brief plans to make this transition independent of the current bitcoin bull market. He noted that a founder at any given time is not necessarily the best person to lead a company from inception to maturity.
While Crypto Briefing has been restructured, other publications have introduced new features to further captivate readers. For example, Decrypt recently introduced its own token for readers. According to the Decrypt article, the concept behind the Decrypt token is simple: You earn DCPTs by reading Decrypt articles, sharing them with a friend and replying to them, all in our mobile app. Soon, readers who collect enough tokens will be able to redeem them for digital rewards.
While Decrypt took a fee-based approach, Cointelegraph tapped into an additional revenue stream with Cointelegraph Markets Pro, a platform developed with The TIE, a leading quantitative and social data company, to offer professional analysis of the crypto-currency market to any investor. More than 1,400 subscribers signed up on the platform in the first month to expand their market research.
Notably, CoinMarketCap, one of the world’s most popular sites for tracking cryptocurrency prices, launched in 2013, now includes a full-fledged content platform. This outlet, known as Alexandria, was established in the fall of 2020, just before the actual bullfight.
Molly Jane Zuckerman, head of content at CoinMarketCap, told Cointelegraph that Alexandria’s target audience is newcomers to the crypto space:
Because CoinMarketCap acts as a giant funnel – if someone searches for Bitcoin on Google, they usually end up at CoinMarketCap – we attract a lot of new users to the crypto space.
Zuckerman explained that Alexandria was founded to get newcomers interested in cryptocurrencies, not just prices. Our bitcoin price page contains a lot of information, but we wanted to add that extra layer – knowing the price of bitcoin is cool, but it’s infinitely cooler if you also know who Satoshi Nakamoto is, she noted.
Despite the rise of new crypto media platforms and the growth of established editions, there are some challenges.
Wong explained that cryptomedia faces the same challenges as all other verticals, with one exception: it is more difficult to maintain editorial independence and integrity. said Wong:
It’s a very fluid space, assets are made at night. Maintaining editorial integrity will prove the value of the independent press and journalism. The problem with crypto is that it’s a small space where you can make a lot more money compared to other industries.
Cointelegraph editor John Rice disagrees with Wong’s assessment. The narrative that cryptomedia journalists are greedy, self-serving fakes is lazy and old-fashioned, and is really only promoted by people outside the industry.
I have worked with over 150 field reporters over the past four years, and the truth is that the vast majority of them demonstrate a deep ethical commitment to their work. The few who don’t will soon find out – and get fired.
The industry’s lack of transparency has more to do with its complexity, especially for mainstream journalists who have no trouble with the intricacies of DeFi and NFT, but instead have to write generalizations about innovations they don’t fully understand, which is understandable, Rice continued. As Arthur C. Clarke noted, any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and as a species we tend to be skeptical of witchcraft.
For sites like CoinMarketCap, known for their quotes, it was a challenge to direct readers to Alexandria from the site’s home page. One of our biggest problems is actually the power of CoinMarketCap – no one wants to leave our home page, Zuckerman noted.
Zuckerman explained that the site is experimenting with different distribution strategies to ensure that content is seen and attracts attention. One strategy to ensure this is to involve prominent people in the field of cryptography in writing Alexandria. It’s a cliché, but the crypto space is evolving so quickly that we have to be on our toes to make sure we have educational content that covers everything as it happens, and working with authors who do is a great way to do that.
Ultimately, the biggest challenge for any media company is customer retention. This can be especially difficult for new livestreaming platforms like Neuner’s Crypto Banter. However, Neuner said the show had no problems retaining customers and was growing its subscriber base by 30 to 50 percent per month. If you have the right format and a product that doesn’t exist yet… the audience will come.
But despite these challenges, Wong believes the future of cryptocurrency issuing is bright. There are few areas in media today that are as profitable and have as much potential as cryptomedia, Wong said.
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