Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Q&A
Media

How Frat Jokes Led to YouTube—and then to Hollywood

The evolution of CollegeHumor from a site Ricky Van Veen started with his friends to host funny pictures and video clips into a digitally-minded studio that was acquired by IAC/InterActive Corp in 2006 has in many ways set the template for the entire online video movement.

You can see traces of it in YouTube’s trajectory from a repository of user generated clips to a place that produces and promotes mainstream stars. Or in Maker Studios’ path from a community of semi-pro content creators to a company Disney felt was worth paying up to a billion dollars for.

Not long after CollegeHumor made the switch from exclusively user-generated content to producing originals, Mr Van Veen chose to place the videos on YouTube. It was a gamble, considering the revenue from ads on CollegeHumor’s own website was already enough to make the company profitable. Was it a mistake to try for more traffic through a platform CollegeHumor didn’t own and had to split revenue with?

In an interview with The Information, Mr. Van Veen talked about the board meeting when the company made that decision and the larger influence online video has had on traditional media. He also posited his theory that the ALS Ice Bucket challenge has been the coming out moment for Facebook’s News Feed video. An edited transcript of the conversation is below.

What Is The Information?

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting, stories, and exclusives you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Go deep into areas like crypto and VC diversity—or get real-time analysis of breaking news—via conference calls with our reporters and other experts.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, subscribers get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

Access the best reporting on the tech industry read by tens of thousands of global executives.

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Share with your team

Subscribers can unlock any article and share it with friends and co-workers through a special share link.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles

Facebook

Facing Free Speech Challenges, Social Media Firms Say They Need More Time

By Matt Drange

Media Entertainment

Why Hulu’s Heavy Losses Pose Question for Disney and Comcast

By Tom Dotan

Media

How Snap Made Direct Response Ads a Big Business

By Tom Dotan

Media

How Cord-Cutting Is Turning Local Sports TV Into Winners and Losers

By Matt Pressberg

If you’re in short-form video and not winning on YouTube you are not winning in video.