February 3, 2021

Jason Yanowitz on the Many Stages of Blockworks

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Jason Yanowitz is the co-founder of Blockworks, a media and events company covering the crypto asset space. Originally, the plan was to create an advisory, but multiple iterations later, it is now has a newsroom, a podcast network, and an events business that plans to go physical again in 2021.

In this episode, we talked about a lot of topics, but a few things jumped out to me…

On podcast strategy

Because Blockworks has raised so little money, it has been very methodical with how it generates cashflow. And a big strategy has been its podcast network of both 3rd party and owned podcasts.

Essentially, they act as the sales agent, production team, and distributor of multiple financial podcasts, many that do tens or hundreds of thousands of downloads a month.

The benefit? They earn revenue that they can then reinvest back into their own shows. Additionally, having these shows in the network helps new shows get a boost. The next stage, Yanowitz explained, is to figure out how to turn them into bigger franchises.

On shiny objects

In media, it is easy to get distracted by the latest and greatest idea. We’ve seen it in a variety of new ideas: social, video, audio, newsletters, subscriptions.

His biggest advice for people is to not get distracted by the latest shiny object and stick with what works. He admits they could launch a subscription, but that would distract from the current lines of business that work.

As I interpreted this, it’s important to continue optimizing the current business, making it better and more efficient, before opting to move into a new revenue stream or area of focus.

On events past and present

The earliest revenue Blockworks ever generated was with a small event for about 250 people. It probably only earned $5,000, but at that point, they were off to the races, launching ever bigger and more profitable gatherings.

Unlike most media companies that tried to go virtual when Covid hit, Yanowitz explained it wouldn’t have provided the value to the viewer or the sponsors. So, they didn’t do them. Instead, they focused on their webinar business, which provided a more targeted approach for all participants involved.

Looking forward, they are planning to resume in-person events starting in the fall. And while the contracts look mostly the same, Yanowitz did say that they all have a pandemic clause now.

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