Funny Or Die’s CEO Reflects On The Company Then & Now

Photo: Esquire

Funny Or Die is easily considered a pioneer in online comedy when the company was first created in 2007 by Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Chris Henchy. Now you look up the company has scaled back on hiring, it’s ‘.com’ isn’t the only focus, and there’s a lot more players in the space of online comedy content (cough cough, Comedy Hype). In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, CEO Mike Farah has now spoken about the changes within Funny Or Die and reflected on their overall journey to now. Judging from the interview’s ending, you won’t see Donald Trump working with the company anytime soon. Check out three questions that stood out in the interview, below.

How has digital video changed since Funny or Die launched?

When we started, there was only one way to make money. You’d make stuff, hope you have an audience and then an ad sales team would come in and leverage that audience. Now there are so many different paths to monetization. There are all these different platforms and buyers who are looking for different things. We have to be the best solution for as many of those people as possible.

What was the reason for the layoffs you conducted in 2016?

Ultimately, we had gotten too big. We were too spread out. We had gotten away from our core product. There were some good ideas from the app strategy, but it was a business that didn’t play to our strengths. I felt like we had taken our eyes off the target. We had to downsize to be able to really zone in on what makes us different and then put all of our efforts toward that.

Is it harder for web content to go viral today?

Going viral today is different than it was five years ago. The honest answer is that most virality is driven by Facebook. That’s good because our views have never been higher, but it’s also a different monetization structure. The things that really go viral now are the things that strike an emotional cord, like Jimmy Kimmel’s recent monologues. He’s obviously speaking from the heart. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they get viewed 50 million times, but they become part of the fabric of the conversation. Going viral is more about that than some insane amount of views.

Read the full interview here

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