|Founded||Lombard, Illinois, (2008 )|
|Headquarters||Lombard, Illinois, United States|
|Key people||Mike Michaud, CEO
Doug Walker, Actor & Presenter
Rob Walker, Screenwriter and Creative Content Officer (CCO)
Holly Christine Brown, Director of Human Resources/Web Administrator
Channel Awesome, Inc. is an online media production company based in Lombard, Illinois. The company was created in 2008 by Mike Michaud, Mike Ellis, and Bhargav Dronamraju. Channel Awesome currently operates the That Guy with the Glasses website, joined by Bar Fiesta in November 2009, and Blistered Thumbs in November 2010. All of Channel Awesome's content is hosted by Blip.tv. The company is believed to have earned $150,000 in 2009, the majority of which came from advertising through their site and web series.
Mike Michaud created Channel Awesome with two others after they were laid off from Circuit City in 2007. The three discussed the idea of such a company while still employed, but their dismissal was the impetus to put their plans into action. Michaud has stated that "If we didn't lose our jobs, [the business] wouldn't have happened anytime soon."
The company's first website is That Guy with the Glasses based on the characters created by Douglas Walker. Walker had previously hosted these through YouTube, but they were repeatedly removed under suspicion of copyright infringement. The site was launched in April 2008. The site was also featured in Entrepreneur magazine on December 2009 where the history of the site was discussed as well as the plans for the future. The site later expanded to feature content from various other contributors.
The site earns more than $10,000 per month in advertising revenue and has received over $11,000 in online donations from viewers. The company expects to earn $150,000 by the end of the year. In the third quarter of the 2009 Fiscal year, Walker's shows earned $53,000. This revenue was generated by run of network from Puma and Starburst. As of June 2011, the company employs seven full-time staff. The production costs of Channel Awesome's web series are minimal, requiring just a camera, software and the stars of the shows themselves. According to Walker, "these people are cheap to get because we are happy to see any amount of money." Channel Awesome's ability to attract a significant audience with such low expenditure is having an effect on video entertainment production.
On December 5, 2009, the company held a donation drive for the Ronald McDonald House charity. The donation drive lasted on the upwards of seven hours and raised $26,400. During the event, calls were taken, prizes were awarded to people who donated large sums of money and videos featuring the talent on the site were aired. The donation drive was extended a few more days making the grand total $32,200. The drive itself was also archived on ThatGuyWithTheGlasses for all to see.
Channel Awesome has plans to build on the success of That Guy with the Glasses with a network of new websites including Bar Fiesta (covering Chicago entertainment and nightlife) and Inked Reality for anime and comic books. Blistered Thumbs (a spin off incorporating the current site's videogame content) was launched November 4, 2010 as the beginning of the new Channel Awesome network. Mike Michaud told the Chicago Sun-Times that he has 300 new show ideas in the works, intends to discover more performers like Walker, and has plans to increase revenue through sponsorship and merchandising. As of 2011 Michaud is looking for warehouse space in suburban Chicago.
In 2011, Michaud told The New York Times, "My company has a lot of growing up to do, but I believe that sometime in the next one to two years someone will create that one series that gets everyone talking... [and attract audiences] to the endless options of online video."
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