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JibJab Doing a Million Transactions a Year

JibJab, the online video pioneer, said today it completed more than a million transactions over the past 12 months. The milestone was reached as JibJab increasingly moves to sell personalized videos, pictures and other services directly to consumers; its business used to be primarily driven by advertising.

JibJab’s most popular offering is its “Starring You” line, which enable users to upload pictures of themselves and friends to create personalized interactive video and pictures. Since its launch, JibJab says more than 150 million heads have been uploaded to its platform, with personalized videos and images viewed more than 400 million times.

JibJab created its direct-to-consumer model, which it rolled out in the fourth quarter of 2007, after the ad market failed to be as robust as it needed to support its business. In a video interview with CinemaTech blogger Scott Kirsner earlier this year, the co-founders said that advertising doesn’t work for online video. Instead, over the past several years JibJab has shifted to selling annual subscriptions that give its user unlimited access to its e-cards and “Starring You” products, while also accepting micropayments for individual digital downloads on iPhone and other devices.

While JibJab still does a number of sponsored projects, such as its annual ElfYourself campaign with OfficeMax or a recent partnership with LucasFilms to promote the 30th anniversary of Empire Strikes Back, the direct-to-consumer business is booming.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: Will Micropayments Make Money for Web Video? (subscription required)

4 Responses to “JibJab Doing a Million Transactions a Year”

  1. Sam Shrauger

    Enjoyed reading your post, Ryan. Just like JibJab, we’re seeing many online video content players move to the subscription or pay-per-view model. This new monetization strategy makes sense for online video content players, as a key perk of viewing content online versus a TV is being able to watch television on the users terms, when it fits their schedules and often times bypassing commercial breaks. It will be interesting to see which monetization strategy works best, and for which types of users and content. Companies such as ABC and Ooyala are currently testing pay-per-view models, where viewers can purchase one TV episode at a time versus purchasing a year-long subscription. I believe consumers will react well to a number of options, and a healthy amount will choose to pay for an advertising-free video hosting environment. Video content monetization is evolving, especially as the larger players get a better grasp of the space and begin setting the stage for smaller publishers.

  2. Todd McKinney

    Self-linking has always bugged me quite a bit. In small doses it is tolerable, but when it is prolific and deceptive it crosses a pretty significant line. This post is a good example of one that screams “We have no respect for our readers. You are a cog in a machine – click here to be fooled.”

    I get the whole upsell idea (subscription required), and I understand the pageview mentality driving your business. I think you are doing yourself a long-term disservice, however, by deceptively promoting pageviews rather than providing useful links.

    Do you really, honestly believe that people would rather go read your old story about something than to go to the thing itself? If so, you should make the link text reflect that.