When Michelle Malkin launched hotair.com in April 2006, it was billed as “the world’s first conservative internet broadcast network”.
Here’s the press release:
Washington, DC, USA, April 24, 2006 — Hot Air, the world’s first conservative Internet broadcast network, launches today. Founder and CEO Michelle Malkin leads a multi-talented, tech-savvy staff on the cutting edge of the Internet video/TV convergence.
Hot Air’s ground-breaking, irreverent daily video newscast, “Vent with Michelle Malkin,” tackles media sacred cows and left-wing shibboleths — harnessing the best blog reporting and analysis across the Internet. Today’s inaugural newscast skewers U.S. high-tech titans kowtowing to China’s tyrants.
This is not your father’s nightly news.
Hot Air exposes new viewers of all political stripes to the world of videoblogging, animation, and podcasting. The network has signed on independent affiliates from Paris to Washington, D.C. Advertisers have lined up; Hot Air has already sold pre-roll video ads through the first week.
Malkin also bragged about the long line of advertisers waiting to advertise on Vent:
Advertisers have lined up; Hot Air has already sold pre-roll video ads through the first week.
And indeed, the first week of Vent with Michelle Malkin did feature video ads at the beginning of each episode. But by the end of week two, the video ads had disappeared.
That was back when Malkin did five episodes of Vent per week and hosted the video files on her own servers. She also tried branching out with additional video projects such as Citizen Journalist, Press Play, Hot Air Films and Jihad Watch.
Fast forward to June of 2007. In a move that signaled near-certain financial distress, Malkin announced that hotair.com had joined the Pajama’s Media network. A month later. Michelle Malkin told BusinessWeek that- despite six-digit per day traffic- her web sites were still operating at a loss:
Between her eponymous blog and her video blog, Hot Air, conservative author and columnist Michelle Malkin gets more than 220,000 visits per day, but says her sites still operate at a slight loss.
Malkin went on to explain how expensive it is to run a high-traffic video blog:
“We’re doing what few other blogs can do. We serve up terabytes of bandwidth,” Malkin says. “I’m shelling out for gold-plated servers. That’s expensive, and we want to be able to withstand huge traffic surges.” Hot Air, a group video-blog, in particular needs the bandwidth to stream videos.
That was July of 2007, even before she lost her O’Reilly Factor gig. She was obviously treading water even then.
Nowadays you’ll find hotair.com rarely hosts videos on their own servers. They post them to YouTube or other video services thus saving their own bandwidth. Could it be that without the O’Reilly gig, Michelle Malkin can’t afford to shell out for those “gold-plated servers” to host her own videos anymore? Let’s go to Allahpundit in October 2006:
Those O’R[eilly Factor] wages help pay for the Hot Air empire, so if O’R wants to talk about O’R, a-talkin’ about O’R she shall be!
That may lend weight to the theory that Malkin took a financial hit when she lost her job with The O’Reilly Factor. But it doesn’t explain what happened to Vent with Michelle Malkin. Early last summer the once five-day-per-week feature just suddenly vanished into the ether, without so much as an explanation from its creator/star or her cronies at Hot Air. If bandwidth was the problem, they could’ve just shifted the burden to YouTube as they’ve done with everything else the past several months. But they didn’t. They just stopped making episodes.
This is pure speculation but my theory is that the whole Vent project was just a ruse- an audition of sorts- to help Michelle Malkin snag her own T.V. show on Fox. Once she figured out that wasn’t going to happen, she dropped the pretense and stopped bothering to make the videos.
The Hot Air side projects- Citizen Journalist, Press Play, and Hot Air Films also seem to have bitten the dust. Only Jihad Watch has remained active, and even its status is up in the air now that “video editing whiz” Bryan Preston has moved on.
So, “the world’s first conservative internet broadcast network” no longer has a video production staff, no longer has any “network” to speak of, and apparently can no longer afford those “gold-plated servers”.