Before we get into the details of how you might make some money, let's take a look at the system that gets you paid, and how it came to be.
The obvious center of Newschoolers – what holds it together, what gives it life – is its community. Be it the industry people, the admins, the pro-skiers, the content creators, the kids from the East or Midwest who just love skiing, or the person who just saw freestyle skiing at the X-Games for the first time and wants to learn more, everyone in the community has a special place and is integral to making the site what it is. That is why the Newschoolers team is constantly working on better ways to connect and support all the various users (and the fact that they just love skiing). This is also why, when Youtube released their new partner program in May of 2007, it made complete sense to bring a similar content program to Newschoolers where users could start getting paid for the material they created. Doug Bishop (Mr. Bishop), Paul Stanisci (nopoles), and Jeff Schmuck quickly started to create a monetization program for the site.
At the same time, Newschoolers started supporting Ian Cosco with his series Chug Life to provide a financial backing for him to continue creating videos. They also witnessed popular and talented community members like Stept and 4bi9 start morphing into full production companies and businesses. These were concrete examples of how, with some support and money, people could really flourish. Not owning the site anymore, Bishop and Stanisci faced a hard task to get the program up and running (especially with all the new tech and accounting that had to be added to the site architecture), but the first official "view-monetization" - or cut of the ad revenue - program was added in "either late 2010 or early 2011", according to Bishop.
This is a skiing site after all, so here is some skiing.
Photo by David Malacrida
The money for this program comes from the various companies who advertise on the site and, amazingly, Newschoolers pays you 50% of the profits from your media (in terms of CPMs, the site pays more than Youtube*). As of right now, only a small group of people who had strong view and rating performances are in the program, but the goal is to expand. News and Photo content has been recently added to the program and the ambition is to increase it so that every single content creating member on Newschoolers can get a cut of their ad revenue.
This might seem like a bold idea for Newschoolers, but if you dig around deeper the wisdom is evident. Not only does this support the people who are creating new content, it actually helps create better content. "If people can't eventually make money – they quit", or move on to other things, Bishop tells. Having a financial support system backs the people who put themselves out on the line, giving them the potential to grow their operations and increase their output. Also, if cash is possible, rather than just karma and views, users might put additional effort into creating more and higher quality content. If that happens, even NS users who don't make content will gain from this program.**
Photo by Sean Logan/The Big Picture
As of right now, Newschoolers does profit off of many peoples' free work (every website where users upload content does), however the whole team realizes that and is working as fast as they can to "share more revenue with more people and seek a better future for content creators everywhere" instead of shipping the money straight "into wall street and venture capital funds", Bishop states. This content monetization program is unprecedented in the ski industry right now and is here to help every user, not just a select few who own and run the site. If we all support this - and the program expands as far as Bishop, Stanisci, and the rest of the program managers, which now includes Chris McMahon, Jamie Walter, Sam Turner and Evan Heath, plans - Newschoolers could become a full "open market-force driven content economy" where "top producers [make] a fully sustainable living...and thousands of others [get] a few bucks here and there". It is also important to highlight that Newschoolers is already unique by allowing users who upload quality content to get recognition and respect - through karma - that will eventually translate into real money and acceptance in the content program if they continue the good work. This differs from a more traditional structure where all your work is pushed aside until you finally make an excellent product - if you have stuck with it, of course - that someone wants to pay you for (and you better hope your next project is as good or better if you want to be paid for that one too).
Photo by Pete Cirilli
Now, what can you do to start getting a cut of the profit, help creators you liked paid, and support Newschoolers? Well, the easiest thing to do is turn off AdBlock (look, we're sorry about the Toyota ads), since, as Bishop says, the "revenue to pay these people comes through the advertisements that companies put around the content". Also, share the content you like so it gets more views!
Or even better, go out and create content! There are so many things happening out in the ski world, even in your backyard, that could be turned into interesting content. As Newschoolers hopes to ramp up their program (and if we all help support them it will go faster) there is nothing holding you back from becoming the next 4bi9, the next Goodenough, the next Mashed Potatoes. If you happen to run a company, advertise on the site! And if you already generate content try putting it on Newschoolers! Facebook, Youtube, etc has enough money and doesn't actually promote skiing like Newschoolers.
Join Newschoolers and help usher in a new age for ski media and the internet as a whole.
Photo by Matt Sklar
*Bishop: "We pay better CPMs (Cost per thousand) than YouTube, but they actually do a 60/40 split in favor of the producer. However its 60/40 of like $4 whereas ours is 50/50 of $20"
*If we bring this to a broader context, a program like this evens the "playing field" for everyone. Everybody can at least make some income (even if it might not be enough to fully live off of) and it helps create a "proverbial middle class", instead of having just a few "rockstars" with everyone else out of luck. Also, it lets people gain wealth instead of just having to live of their income. For example, let's say you are a pro, or aspiring to be in the industry. You are pushing yourself out their day after day, hoping you don't get a season-ending injury. If you have been making good content for Newschoolers on the side, you have the chance to gain enough wealth that even if you do get an injury, you can still sustain yourself without going into a downward spiral. (If these ideas engage you, I highly suggest reading Jaron Lanier's "Who Owns the Future". Both Mr. Bishop and I could go one for hours about how great this book is!)