WatchMojo.com is a video content producer, publisher and syndicator based in Montreal, Canada. It was founded in 2005 by media executive and entrepreneur Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, Raphael Daigneault and Christine Voulieris. The WatchMojo.com website launched on January 23, 2006. Today it ranks as the 16th largest YouTube partner channel in the world with over 77 million monthly views, with over 1.25 million subscribers as of December 2013.
WatchMojo.com owns a catalog of 8,000 reference and infotainment videos, producing 60 to 100 new videos and over 400 minutes of content each month. The majority of the videos are in English, but WatchMojo also has hundreds of French and Spanish videos.
The company's mission is to "inform and entertain," and its current editorial covers the "people, places and things that have shaped pop culture" through the production of short (5 to 10-minute clips) biographies, profiles and Top 10 lists. WatchMojo is one of the few YouTube channels that updates every day, even on weekends. WatchMojo also frequently engages with viewers on the comments section of its YouTube channel.
Its library covers a wide range of topics and its programming focus has evolved over the years:
- Categories (2006-09 focus) such as Auto, Business & Technology, Comedy, Education, Fashion, Film, Health & Fitness, History, Lifestyle, Music, Science & Space, Sports, Travel, and Videogames.
- Themes (2009-11 focus) that cut across Categories and include Biographies, Top 10s, Profiles, How To's, Versus, Interviews. WatchMojo has interviewed prominent authors, musicians, actors, directors and newsmakers; including Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Anthony Bourdain, LMFAO and many others.
- This Day in Video (2011-12 focus), which covers noteworthy Births, Deaths, Anniversaries and Releases on the date of their anniversary.
- Viewer Suggestions (2013–present), which are then voted on by other viewers and selected by the WatchMojo team and then converted into videos.
Each one of these focus elements represents a layer in WatchMojo's library, which spans 8,000 videos.
WatchMojo.com does not feature user-generated content nor does it allow a mechanism for users to upload videos onto its site. It does, however, offer viewers the ability to suggest ideas and vote on entries on its top 10 lists. The company also licenses videos from Hulu and offers over 300,000 clips from Hulu's content partners on the WatchMojo.com website, though it does not redistribute these.
While the company's content suits both men and women, nearly 85% of the company's YouTube audience is male and over 90% of its YouTube subscribers are men, with 78% of those being 18-34.
WatchMojo employs a multi-platform distribution model consisting of syndication on:
- Internet: The company's content can be accessed on the big three portals AOL, Yahoo, and MSN. It also syndicates its videos to Time Warner, Hulu and other traditional media outlets. It launched its YouTube channel on January 25, 2007, which as of November 2013 had over 1,000,000 subscribers and generated 430,000,000 views alone. After reaching 100,000 subscribers in January 2013, WatchMojo reached the 500,000 subscriber milestone on YouTube on July 28, 2013. In October, WatchMojo's YouTube audience watched over 250 million minutes of content and over 55 million video views. WatchMojo crossed 1,000,000 YouTube subscribers on October 30, 2013. All-time, across all websites, it crossed 1 billion cumulative views in the summer of 2012 and 2 billion views as of December 2013. The leading geographic markets are the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, India, and the Netherlands.
- Out-of-home: WatchMojo's videos reach nearly 50 million consumers per month according to Nielsen in practically every DMA. The videos can be seen in taxi cabs, buses, malls, gyms, airports, gas stations and many other retail outlets.
- Over-the-top connected devices through partnerships like Xbox, as well as the company's own apps.
- Mobile: the company generates over 15 million mobile views each month.
The company's multi-platform, aggregate reach is over 75 million consumers per month.
Due to the 2008-09 recession, by 2009 WatchMojo.com had de-emphasized an ad-supported model in favor of licensing fees paid by other media companies to access and use their media. Later that year Beet.tv featured WatchMojo.com alongside Magnify.net as examples of companies which successfully switched from ad-based revenue models to licensing fee based revenue models.
In addition, WatchMojo supplies video content to various academic and educational publishers, including Pearson, Cengage, Express Publishing, Nelson and many more.
It is unclear what portion of the company's videos are sponsored by advertisers, though the company has always deficit-financed videos, describing itself as "Wikipedia of video," albeit with professionally produced content, and striving to have a video on every topic imaginable. The company is privately held and profitable since November 2010 according to management.
Games and Interactive Tools
In April 2013, WatchMojo provided its viewers with the ability to suggest video ideas and to vote on other viewers' suggestions. The WatchMojo Video Suggestion tool launched to the public on April 26, 2013 and formally empowered viewers to become a part of the production process. The company commented on its YouTube channel that due to its growth it was becoming impossible to properly manage and track all of its million subscribers' suggestions in the video comments area on YouTube, so it created the Suggestion Tool to streamline the process. By December 2013, 14,600 users had submitted 40,000 approved suggestions and voted 610,000 times on the 170,000 top 10 list entries.
In May 2013, the company launched WatchMojo Trivia, which leverages the company's catalog of videos to display multiple choice and true/false questions to users, keeping track of their scores.
Awards and Recognition
The next year, Karbasfrooshan was nominated for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in the Media category. Despite being founded in Canada, the company's main market is the United States with a majority of its clients, viewers and revenues.
In September 2012, FlipBoard selected WatchMojo in its "Three Things We Love" feature, stating: "Few YouTube channels are as prolific as WatchMojo, which uploads as many as 10 videos per week about 'the people, places and trends viewers are passionate about.' Turns out that’s a pretty eclectic mix—it’s not unusual to flip from a biography of pop star Pink to a history of the CERN Large Hadron Collider.”
During the summer of 2012, Ted Prince, the former President of National Geographic Ventures joined the company as an advisor.
WatchMojo cracked Tubefilter's list of the 100 most viewed YouTube channels in July 2013, entering the chart at number 99 with over 32 million views. By August, the channel grew 30%, adding 10 million views to 42 million and thus cracking the 50th rank, a jump of 49 positions in one month. That month, WatchMojo's YouTube channel generated more views than the channels of media organizations WWE, CollegeHumor, BBC, TMZ, Buzzfeed, Britain's Got Talent, Howcast, VICE Media; musical artists Beyonce, Avril Lavigne, Skrillex, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake, Will.i.am, Shakira, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj and Maroon 5; as well as that of popular YouTube celebrity channels such as EpicMealTime, NigaHiga and several others.
By December 2013, WatchMojo's channel had climbed to the 16th rank according to Tubefilter. Throughout 2013, WatchMojo added over 1,000,000 subscribers from January through December 1.
Ashkan Karbasfrooshan, Raphael Daigneault and Christine Voulieris co-founded WatchMojo in 2005 after the previous site that Karbasfrooshan was an executive of, AskMen.com, was acquired by IGN Entertainment. While at AskMen, Karbasfrooshan ran ad sales while writing on business, pop culture and lifestyle topics. He launched and wrote AskMen.com's Top 10 lists under various pen names and also served as the resident interviewer, interviewing celebrities and newsmakers like Hugh Hefner and Joe Montana.
In March 2006, News Corp., IGN and AskMen filed a lawsuit alleging that Karbasfrooshan had violated his non-competition agreement, seeking an injunction and requiring Karbasfrooshan to shut down WatchMojo. Maintaining that the lawsuit was frivolous and without merit, Karbasfrooshan represented himself and defended WatchMojo, prevailing in the trial. Karbasfrooshan had no legal training or background, but nonetheless managed to defeat News Corp.'s trial lawyers from Fasken Martineau, one of Canada's leading law firms. The case ended with WatchMojo continuing to operate; subsequently various units of News Corp., including MySpace, Hulu and IGN, began to license WatchMojo's content.
Over time, Karbasfrooshan has also developed into a leading authority on copyright law and Fair Use, writing multiple articles for MediaPost. In addition, Karbasfrooshan has been published in other industry publications such as TechCrunch, PaidContent and GigaOm; and spoken, moderated or served as a panelist at industry conferences like Streaming Media, OMMA, and others. He is also the author of two books: The Confessions of Alexander the Great, and Course To Success: Everything You Need To Know Beyond School.
The company employs over ten full-time employees according to its Linkedin profile, though it has added multiple freelancers as of 2013.