HQ: Santa Monica, Calif.
Founding date: 2006
Funding: Parent company Demand Media has more than $355 million from investors including Oak Investment Partners, Spectrum Equity Investors and Goldman Sachs
Employees: 500 total at Demand Media
A well-oiled freelance machine, Demand Studios churns out content like nobody else. The profitable young company uses search and domain name data to dictate assignments for its vast network of freelancers, thereby ensuring in advance that their videos and articles will be highly trafficked. Paying out $200-$300 per video (it has a similar though lower-paying system for text), Demand posts more videos by volume to YouTube than anyone else. Its ExpertVillage how-to channel on YouTube is among the top 25 most-subscribed on the site, and the company says it makes “seven-figure” revenue through its YouTube partner agreement. And Demand does share the wealth, in thousands of small but important payments; across text and video, it has altogether paid out nearly $18 million to creators so far. While Demand’s concept can be unsettling for those who value more intensive and personal approaches to content, there’s no doubt that the economics work. (Written by Liz Gannes)