In 2001, Lev Manovich published The Language of New Media and described new media as objects which exist as independent data in several different forms that can be created and modified automatically or converted into another format. Although the Manovich new media definition sounds complicated, new media technologies are essentially those which exist in an online-only environment. This includes everything from Web sites offering free summaries of the day's most important news stories to niche blogs run by small home-based entrepreneurs looking for a source of supplemental income.
The key component of a new media business is the creation of content. This can include traditional news articles, features, editorials, blogs, photo galleries, videos, podcasts, or chat rooms in which people with a common interest can come together. Content for a new media business is usually created using search engine optimization techniques to help make it rank higher when people look for information using Google, MSN, or Yahoo.
In many cases, a new media business relies primarily on advertising revenue to earn a profit. Instead of directly selling a traditional product or service, the company provides content for Web site visitors. In turn, visitors are viewing advertisements for a variety of other businesses. These companies pay new media businesses a fee based on the number of times the ad is viewed or the number of times a visitor clicks on a link within the ad. Affiliate programs, in which a new media business receives a percentage of the purchase price in exchange for helping to sell a particular item, are another way to earn money online.
The explosion of social networking has created additional opportunities for new media businesses. Even though these sites started out as a way for people to connect with friends and family, it's now possible to use them to follow the activities of most major corporations. There are several new media companies that specialize in helping traditional businesses use resources like MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter to generate good publicity for their products.
Among those looking for a way to achieve their dream of entrepreneurship, new media businesses are becoming increasingly popular because they have little overhead. Many workers telecommute from home offices and there is often no central headquarters for the corporation. However, because the Internet is so vast, it's important to realize that you need to have a very specific business plan in order to make your new media business stand out from the competition.