JibJab Bros. Studios is a leading digital entertainment studio based in Los Angeles, California. From its political and social satire eCards and messages, to its kids and family brands, JibJab has the attention of 100 million annual unique visitors, as well as earning the confidence from investors Polaris Ventures, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Overbrook Entertainment.
Cofounder and CEO, Gregg Spiridellis, sits down with LA TechWatch and shares the JibJab story, including his experiences in trying to find the right business model that works and can sustain its 80-person team of world-class artists, technologists and business people.
Tell us about the product or service.
My brother Evan and I started JibJab in 1999 out of a garage in Brooklyn, New York – in our early days we produced short, funny political satires and we’ve since evolved that into today’s business of eCards and mobile content. We also introduced our children’s brand, StoryBots, in 2012 – producing fun, educational content for kids ages 3 to 7 that even their parents want to watch. Overall, we want to continue pushing the boundaries of online entertainment for kids and adults alike.
How is it different?
We set ourselves apart from other companies in the entertainment and eCards space by bringing world-class art talent to everything we produce and offering a unique personalization feature called Starring You®. On JibJab.com, for example, members can customize hundreds of funny, upbeat videos with their friends’ faces and then share directly through our site. It’s a great way to embarrass the people you love.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are a global brand attacking the market for people’s attention on the Internet. It’s a big market!
What is the business model?
We’ve dipped our toe in various monetization strategies in our 16-year existence, but we launched our most successful monetization model – subscriptions – in 2008. That strategy has allowed us to grow the company to where it is today.
What inspired the business?
In 1999 my brother and I saw two big trends. First, the cost of producing content was plummeting thanks to cheap desktop computers and off-the-shelf software. That meant talent would be the barrier to entry in the future, not capital. The second trend was the growing adoption of the Internet. If we created something worthy of people’s attention they would share it and we would not need to rely on a mega-media-conglomerate to distribute our content. We believed these two trends presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for two guys in a garage with a few thousand bucks’ worth of equipment to build a global media brand.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We have been focused this year on building a stellar mobile app experience for our JibJab users. With the undeniable increase in mobile usage that we have seen in the past two years, we are looking to mobile content and monetization as the future of our business.
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
Los Angeles has an incredible history of using technology to innovate entertainment formats. From vaudeville to film to radio and TV, this is the birthplace of using technology to tell stories and that’s why we love being here.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
More exits, more capital, and more inspiring products!
Where is the best place to watch the sun set in Los Angeles?
The best place to watch the sunset is from the top of a trail in Topanga Canyon.