Laugh Out Loud, a comedy video network from comedian Kevin Hart and Lionsgate, plans to make paid subscriptions a key part of its business in 2018.
The comedy video network offers original web series, short-form social videos, TV shows, movies and stand-up comedy specials on its platform and social distribution partners such as YouTube and Facebook. It’s been building out a $2.99-a-month ad-free subscription offering since it launched in August. Since the company was primarily focused on building awareness as a new network, it didn’t heavily market subscriptions, said Thai Randolph, svp of marketing and monetization for Laugh Out Loud Network.
“At launch, we deliberately tried to foster a community focused on great content and creators,” Randolph said. “That said, we want to make sure that we can provide a premium experience for those who want to opt in further.”
While Randolph wouldn’t say how many subscribers are already paying for the ad-free version of LOL, the company said its app was downloaded 500,000 times within the first 30 days of its August launch. Randolph said since then, additional LOL downloads have been in the “six figures.”
The next move for LOL is to give users a reason to pay, which will likely include a variety of exclusive programming as well as early access to other shows, movies and stand-up specials on LOL. The company’s membership model will also include live events and other experiential events products, which other streaming services such as Crunchyroll, DramaFever and Rooster Teeth have used to build subscriber bases.
While it’s primarily a comedy video network, LOL is also building up a studio business within the company that can make and sell TV shows and stand-up specials to digital and linear TV distributors, as well as create daily social videos and original digital series for both on- and off-network distribution.
LOL’s content takes the form of daily, short social videos for Facebook and other platforms; mid-form video series (with episodes in what Randolph calls the eight- to 10-minute “sweet spot”) for LOL’s site and apps; and TV-sized shows for external distribution partners.
Randolph said LOL is setting up a digital content studio operation to boost the amount of content it produces. This includes creating roughly one to two digital mid-form series per month and four to six bigger projects for external partners.