THE PLAN 2009-2012
A New Model for Daily Broadcast News
In association with
Independent World Television Inc.
Independent World Television Foundation
Table of Contents
Executive Summary 2
I. Why Do We Need The Real News Network? 4
A Unique Proposition 4
Our Editorial Approach 4
II. Overview of Our Progress (2003-2009) 5
Brief History 5
Major Developments 5
Current Status 5
Membership and Sustainability 6
III. The Next Phase of The Real News 8
Real News Programming 8
The Real Story 8
Best of the Web 8
DC News Unit 8
Branded Segments 8
IV. Marketing The Real News 10
Distribution Partners 10
Ecommerce Partners 11
V. Financial Projections 12
Stretch Growth Rate 12
Conservative Growth Rate 14
Revenue Projections 15
Financial Summary 15
VI. The Future Depends on Knowing 16
Appendix A 17
Background on The Real News Network 17
Appendix B 18
A Feasible Member-Supported Business Model 18
“ I use Real News as a first source of news. Excellent interviews, no glitz just getting down to business.” - Michael H.
“I donate because of the content and the courage of the Network to tell the truth. I believe in the Real News philosophy, I like the idea
I can also volunteer and make a difference.” - Joshua H.
“I am shocked by the quality and independence of The Real News.” – Nima B.
“Coming from a poor family I just got my first computer at age 21. For the first time in my life, I feel like I have learned something very
important, and it’s the message the real news delivers, i have learned sooo much.” – Jakub C.
The Real News Network (TRNN) is the world’s first truly independent, Due to the current economic crisis, TRNN did not receive grants
non-profit, viewer-supported daily video-news and documentary expected from foundations hit by the market downturn. Small
service. It provides independent and uncompromising video donor contributions however, have continued to build. Taking the
journalism. TRNN does not accept advertising, government or current situation into account, TRNN has scaled back its current size
corporate funding. It is financed initially by major individual and and short term plans. We are confident that with an infusion of 1.5
foundation gifts, and will be sustainable on a long-term basis by million dollars in 2009 we can achieve a new level of growth that will
viewer donations and earned revenue. lead to sustainability.
TRNN has demonstrated it is ready to move to scale. The next phase By obtaining 1.5 million in major donor funding in 2009, The Real
of development calls for the move towards a 24/7 video-news service News Network will extend its daily news coverage, online and
on the Internet (and with convergence, on TV) by 2012. We plan to television distribution and revenue-generation programs. These
compete with cable news for an audience in the millions. funds will allow TRNN to build on its current base of 40,000+ daily
views and its strategic relationships with McClatchy Newspapers,
Since 2007 we produced more than 3,000 news videos. 2008 was TiVo and its growing YouTube presence. This round of funding will
a year of major development for the network, as our videos were be an important transition towards small donor sustainability by
viewed more than 17,743,480 times. In 2008 TRNN received $188,242 November 2011.
in viewer donations and launched the first phase of our ecommerce
revenue initiative. We established a strategic production and distribu- TRNN has proven the demand for its online independent news and
tion partnership with McClatchy Newspapers in Washington DC and analysis and is ready for the next phase of development.
signed a deal that will put us in one million TiVo houses. In 2008
TheRealNews.com received 3,483,048 total visitors. The Real News is
currently the number 1 non-profit channel on YouTube.com.
Our fundraising goal for 2009 is 1.5 million dollars. Based on our historical growth
patterns and with greater investment in news production and marketing, we predict
we will achieve our goal of sustainability based on membership by the end of 2011.
I. Why Do We Need The Real News Network?
A Unique Proposition of what’s important. The movements for the rights of working
people, women, children, immigrants, indigenous peoples,
As the economic crisis deepens, climate change reaches critical for freedom of religion and conscience, for moral and spiritual
levels and global tensions intensify, the need to break the values and for peace and against racism - are news. The health
corporate monopoly on television daily news has never been of our planet will be a story day after day.
greater. We must know why the crisis is happening and what we
can do to defend our interests. Corporate TV news won’t ask the » Who’s a newsmaker? We will cover people in high office, but
real questions, let alone provide answers. we won’t limit our news to official positions or the partisan horse
race for power. We think that people who fight for human rights
The scale of the crisis demands original and profound solutions. and work for solutions are newsmakers.
If ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, get ready for an era of
unprecedented imagination and innovation. But there will be no » Targeting a mass audience: We will make stories that matter
progress without a fight against forces wedded to the status quo. dramatic and engaging. We will combine sizzle with substance,
We are entering a period of action, where people take solutions understanding that craft and entertainment values are critical
into their own hands and create a bold vision for new ways of living to winning a large audience. We will always strive to answer the
and doing business. The Real News Network is such a solution; it’s question: “Why should I care?” But we will do so in a way that
the missing link in the global media landscape. encourages a broadminded, fact-based view of, “What’s in it
for me?” TRNN programming will provide facts to help people
We need video news that cuts through the propaganda and spin defend their interests.
with facts and context. But we need more than that. We must
have journalism that reports on models for change and people » Creating daring debate: Many sides of an issue will be explored
getting organized seeking justice and transformation. We require a taking debate beyond narrow partisanship. Guests will have
platform for the best minds on the planet to debate solutions and deep knowledge and investigated opinion. Debate will be
speak to millions of people. We need video news with the courage lively and witty and will resist personal attacks, talking points
only economic independence provides, to follow facts fearlessly to and empty rhetoric.
rational conclusions. We need to change the definition of what’s
news and who’s a newsmaker. » Bias, accountability and transparency: We all have interests.
We recognize that bias will affect the elements in a story we
Our Editorial Approach choose to highlight, the facts we consider important and the
sources we decide to trust. To be human is to have bias. The
TRNN produces journalism that seeks truth and doesn’t bow to answer is professional methodology and transparency; The
pressure. In everything we produce we ask: Real News will create forums for questioning, debating and
criticizing our work.
» What’s news? The Real News will investigate, report and debate
stories that help people understand the critical issues of our » Back to “basics”: The Real News will insist on verifiable
time. We won’t blindly follow wire services or official press journalism, seeking truth without bowing to pressure and
releases that attempt to set the news agenda. We will cover fearlessly reaching conclusions to which evidence leads.
the big stories of the day, but we will broaden the definition
II. Overview of Our Progress (2003-2009)
Brief History Soon, we expect to establish a presence on cable TV on-demand
services and on radio in the US and Canada.
Phase-one of Independent World Television (later called The Real
News Network), kicked off in 2004 with a feasibility study and Current Status
early development work (including the establishment of a 5-year
business plan), which was funded by The MacArthur Foundation, In its start-up phase, The Real News Network has made remarkable
Ford Foundation, The Phoebe Haas Trust, and other grants and progress:
loans. Phase-two saw the creation in 2006 of our promotional
video ‘The Promise,’ construction of an HD studio, acquisition » A beta video-news service was launched on therealnews.com
of key domain names and a branding and positioning plan, in September 2007 and hit 500,000 page views per month by
which included the name ‘The Real News Network.’ We hired a end of 2007.
20+ person-staff and created a highly developed Web 2.0 site. » By December 2008, traffic hit 1,796,814 page views per month
Phase-three in 2007 saw the launch of our beta news site and and the site was ranked 15,469 most visited site in the US, 16,476
Phase 4 in 2009 will take the project to a new scale of content and in Canada, 16,000 in the UK and 529 in the Netherlands, with an
distribution. overall world ranking of 47,000 (ranking at Alexa.com).
» Launched a YouTube channel that has received 7.2 million views
Major Developments and is the highest rated non-profit channel.
» 600,000 video views per month on our dedicated YouTube
» Collaboration with McClatchy Newspapers’ Washington DC channel.
bureau has provided distribution for TRNN stories across the » Averaged 1.5 million views per month on TheRealNews.com
chain’s websites, a studio space in the McClatchy DC offices, and across 2008.
access to journalists including the award winning McClatchy » Created a digital HD studio.
foreign bureaus. » Developed alliances with key journalists and analysts around
» A deal with Tivo for a channel that will be seen in more than 1 the world.
million homes. » Raised 5 million dollars from major donors and foundations.
» Access to 7 million union members. » Qualified for a $40,000 per month in Google ads from Google
» Other content partnerships (including dedicated apps for cell Foundation.
phones) will push our video news service to millions of people.
Membership and Sustainability
The viewer funded donor model