Online video is hot, and social news and entertainment forum Reddit is apparently ready to cash in on all that hotness. During the TechCrunch Disrupt NY conference yesterday, Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian formally announced Reddit Video, and in doing so, practically transformed the site into a media company at the snap of his fingers.
The move might seem to go against Reddit’s model, which has always relied on content from others, being collected, curated, and posted by users around the world. Reddit, in fact, calls itself the “front page of the Internet.” Yet Reddit hadn’t really hosted any content of its own, until recently when it launched a newsletter and podcast. Now video is next on that list.
Co-founder Alexis Ohanian calls video an “amazing storytelling medium,” and it would seem he’s ready to leverage that medium for already-popular formats like Reddit’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) interviews.
This could be one part of an attempt to offer more content, in a more compelling way, and another part looking toward a way to actually turn a profit from the site. Video ads can be compelling, and tend to fare better than display ads. And since Reddit will be creating the video content itself, it has control over what will be sold to advertisers, and advertisers will know exactly what the content will consist of.
According to The Verge (which confirms that two former members of its video team will be heading up this new Reddit division), after turning Ask Me Anything (AMA) interviews into video, the team will look to create actual video representations of user stories.
Reddit currently enjoys 170 million monthly visitors, and in January, saw 6.7 billion page views. Last fall, the company managed to raise $50 million to further propel the service forward through investments by hip hop artist Snoop Dogg and actor Jared Leto. At that time, Ohanian returned in the position of Chairman, and Ellen Pao as CEO. Conde Nast Publications acquired Reddit in 2006, but Reddit continues to operate independently from its parent company.
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