What JibJab Could Teach TV

I’ve never understood the thinking of some people who try to create a hit video online so they can get a TV deal. If you’ve already created something popular online and have established a dedicated audience, then why do you even need TV? Of course, saying this is muching easier than actually doing it. TV is proven and established; the online world is still frightening and largely unexplored as a business model.

But even today there are some people who believe strongly enough in online possibilities that they’re bypassing TV deals in favor of developing their online brand. One prominent example is the animation studio and entertainment portal JibJab, run by brothers Gregg and Evan Spiridellis. In this new interview with Gregg Spiridellis, he offers some worthwhile insights into how JibJab is developing its online brand, and doing so without relying on the corporate world of television. It’s a thought-provoking read which makes one realize that there are even bigger and better opportunities awaiting animation creators online than in the once-dominant TV industry.


  • http://www.bobharper.net Bob Harper

    It’s like saying that if you had confidence in you art, why bother working at a studio – just do it yourself. Some of us grew up dreaming of working at Disney, while some of us grew up wanting to be the next Jay Ward. Why is that latter pursuit invalid, simply because it involves the corporate world? Considering that getting a show on air, especially animated, is like getting hit by lightning, I’d say those of us that go for the TV gold have a ton of confidence in our projects.

    If mommy and daddy let me stay at their house and use their spare room and set up and office and feed my family and me while I made a go at this internet thing – I’d jump on it.

    In all seriousness, you have to be a creator, producer, website savvy entrepreneur to have a shot at making bucks on the internet. TV provides the development cash just to be the creator while you work on it. That’s the lure.

    That being said – I see great potential in the internet and am currently working on some projects for it, as well as theatrical and television. But everyone has different paths for their own goals. the more avenues that are taken, the better for us all.

  • http://www.bishopanimation.com Floyd Bishop

    Jib Jab is a great example, as you’ve mentioned. Homestar Runner would be another. The mysterious step seems to be step two:

    Step one: Make something popular online (no easy task itself)

    Step two: ???

    Step Three: Profit

  • Dan O

    Why a TV deal? I don’t think it’s unreasonable for some to aspire to the career of Matt Groening.

  • http://tangoland.com Cynthia

    I totally understand what you mean…HomeStar Runner is another example of a group of people who were actually offered a TV deal and turned it down because they were doing well enough on their own and had complete creative control.

    On the other hand, I myself would certainly consider a TV dea because it would open my characters up to even more people than those who visit my websitel. But it’s a tough game…you are often asked to give up your rights to the idea and you may not get total creative control. But on the other hand, you’re certainly going to get more exposure and licensing opportunities you may not otherwise get. If y ou go the TV route, get yourself a good lawyer and learn some basic rules of business. Don’t get screwed like quite a few artists do.

  • http://pgpattison.blogspot.com/ Palmer

    Good on JibJab for their success. But how many of us would have even heard of ‘em if it hadn’t been for Leno? Maybe TV and the ‘net aren’t so mutually exclusive after all?