Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fan Media Net Gives Fans Opportunity To Report On Their Teams

California-based Fan Media Network (FMN) CEO Kirk Berridge said the startup company is seeking to "enable talented, knowledgeable fans to report on their teams as professional media," according to Stephen Ellison of the SILICON VALLEY/SAN JOSE BUSINESS JOURNAL. Berridge, who previously held marketing positions with the 49ers and the Sharks, said, "In sports, fans are the ones who drive the values, but you don't see them in the media." Berridge's goal for FMN is to "build a network of fan video reporters for every team" in MLB, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and "all the major college football conferences." Charlotte-based consulting firm Sports Media Challenge Dir of New Media Strategy & Fan Engagement Dexter Bustarde: "Sports fans aren't relying just on ESPN anymore to follow their teams." FMN is in "sponsorship discussions with Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. that could include cash, product and promotional support," and Berridge said that "a 'test program' with Best Buy is also helping offset some of the reporters' expenses." The program includes a "co-branded, in-store display offering a 10[%] discount on digital cameras, tripods, video-editing software and memory cards to anyone registered" on the FMN site. Bustarde said that FMN's model "enables it to sell video commercial time on top of conventional click-on ads, certainly a relevant bonus." Berridge is "looking to raise about $750,000 from seed investors" to cover marketing, sales and daily operations. The net is "conducting open casting calls for video reporters," for which former NFLer J.J. Stokes and KTVU-Fox Sports Dir Mark Ibanez are judges. But reporters are "not [FMN] employees, aren't paid for the videos they provide and must cover their own costs for equipment and production"


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