Is MoJo the way to sustainable broadcast journalism?

Mobile journalism newsroom entrepreneurs Michael Rosenblum and Kartini Arrifin, in conversation with MOJO Asia Conference co-organiser, Corinne Podger.

Traditional broadcasters are notoriously expensive to run. You’ll need a broadcast license, a building to house your studios, and people to run those studios. And you’ll need expensive equipment: cameras, broadcast desks, computer servers, access to transmitters and so on. 

Consequently, advertising on a traditional broadcaster has also been expensive, and out of reach for small businesses. But advertising income for broadcasters – which was already in decline prior to Covid-19 – has plummeted since the pandemic began, with catastrophic implications for journalism. 

Now, what if you could reduce the cost of running a television or radio station by at least an order of magnitude, possibly more? Would that bring sustainability within reach?

That’s the question two entrepreneurs on opposite sides of the planet have built their businesses around answering, and for both of them it’s a firm ‘yes’. 

Meet Michael Rosenblum, founder and COE of RosenblumTV in New York, and Kartini Ariffin, founder and CEO of Dblique Media and Dblique Academy, in Kuala Lumpur.

Michael Rosenblum has been a respected leader in the television journalism business for decades. When smartphone cameras became good enough for TV, he began helping big broadcasters to integrate smartphones. 

He also established theVJ.Com, to teach local and regional communities to create their own stations. These stations don’t need a studio. They can be run from home, or a café or library, avoiding the costs of renting a building, or building and maintaining studios with the associated staff costs. And smartphones are the heart of the business. All of this makes them cheaper to run, meaning less advertising income is needed to achieve profitability. So the cost of an ad comes down, and making advertising open to more businesses.

Kartini Ariffin left a 14-year career in broadcasting in 2018 to establish Dblique – a ‘station’ that broadcasts on Facebook Live and YouTube. There are several shows every week on a range of topics, and each charges a range of fees for sponsorship and advertising – again, at a fraction of the cost of advertising on TV.Michael and Kartini are in conversation with Corinne Podger, founder and director of the Digital Skills Agency, through which she provides training and consultancy to newsrooms and NGOs on mobile journalism, podcasting, social media, and news revenue. She also lectures in Online Journalism at the University of Sydney, and is the co-organiser of the Mobile Journalism Conference for Asia.

Corinne Podger

Corinne Podger