Leo Laporte’s TWiT Making Millions From Ads and Fans

Wow, have you guys read this LA Times profile of Leo Laporte? Because if you haven’t, let me tell you this: It sounds like being Leo Laporte is a lot of fun, bopping as he does between festivals and conferences with a song in his heart and a live-streaming camera apparatus on his back.  He’s also making some serious bank: According to writer Mark Millian, the professional podcaster’s TWiT network made $2.25 million in revenue in 2009, and may make up to $3 million in 2010.

The story goes on to say that while the majority comes from ad revenue, Laporte himself takes his salary from fan donations, capping his personal income at $10,000 a month and putting the rest back into the company.

The fact that Laporte’s salary is covered by audience contributions speaks to the increasing power of the crowdsourced funding strategy. More and more examples of this approach to supporting online content keep popping up, whether it be Kickstarter campaigns to fund web series or post-download donations for free torrents of films.

What all these successful campaigns have in common, it’s important to note, is a clear appeal to audiences or a strong personality at its center. In Laporte’s case, he’s been a known figure in the tech world since the 90s as a radio and TV commentator, most notably creating and co-hosting now-defunct TechTV’s The Screen Savers. It’s frankly no surprise to me at all that he’s earning that kind of revenue from his audience, and doing so while pulling off stunts like breaking the world record for live-streamed crowd-surfing at SXSW.

Listen to that crowd chant his name. Who wouldn’t want to be Leo Laporte for a day?

Picture courtesy of Flickr user macinate.

Related GigaOm Pro Content (subscription required): A Guide To Online Video Monetization Options