Launching MsMojo was an example of listening to your inner voice, serving your community and not giving in to the perpetually-offended (now help me serve another demographic)
Part of WatchMojo’s brands, MsMojo turns 5! It’s turned out to be a very successful channel and community, catered to a female demographic, but far more than that. It was an idea I had discussed when Meredith took an interest in acquiring WatchMojo, but something that was part of our original business plan.
Publishers have always produced their content based on demographics. Think of titles like Elle or Marie Claire, which cater to women. Undoubtedly, however, women are not the only people who read them. Men can also be interested in the topics covered in those magazines, much in the same way that women are interested in the content covered by WatchMojo. But publishing is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy: create content on topics you yourself are passionate about, and you start developing an audience of people who share interests. As WatchMojo’s initial team was predominantly male—and into movies, music, history, pop culture, video games and television—our content gravitated towards the shows they watched, the music they listened to, and the video games they played.
The reason we launched MsMojo wasn’t only to create content for women, but rather to create other kinds of content that our average viewer may not necessarily want to see on the main channel. Some women may love Megadeth and gaming, but on average, if you were to line up 100 women and 100 men and give them a survey, the two groups would show interest in different things. This is not necessarily a matter of gender or stereotyping, but common sense. We could just as easily have called this new channel MoreMojo (which we subsequently used for another initiative), but we went with the current name, and today it reflects the audience breakdown: 80% of WatchMojo’s viewers are men, while MsMojo’s are 60% women.
Use the slider tool to compare MsMojo (left) vs WatchMojo (right).
Now, I will add, I wonder whether the delta (60% vs 80%) reflects MsMojo’s higher proportion of LGBTQ viewers (an audience and community I’ve long supported as the quintessential underdogs… and sought to protect by creating a safe[r] environment for on MsMojo).
While we always envisioned eventually having such a channel, it came to be after a number of female colleagues pushed for it. There’s a separate article on navigating the internal casting when launching such an initiative, but I’ll leave that for #AnotherArticle. I will just say that I learned that my extremely idealistic philosophies needed to be tempered: no doubt some of my best team members emerged out of the MsMojo team (many of whom not only remain with us five years later but have thrived as leaders). But on the flip side, I won’t change my principles but have altered my tactics: I will keep giving opportunities to people no matter how inexperienced, but lending too much credence to everybody/anybody makes no sense, especially those who have neither the track record nor the ability to execute a game plan.
Although we could easily have put the clips that are on MsMojo onto our WatchMojo channel and earned 1000 times more revenue (since WatchMojo had over 13 million subscribers and MsMojo has only about 300,000 in year 1), we made the tough call to keep the videos on each channel separate. The Internet can be a toxic place—especially in the comments section on YouTube—and we wanted to limit any possible negativity we’d get from our new channel.
For example, “Top 10 Saddest Grey’s Anatomy Moments” had over 500,000 views on MsMojo a few months after we published it (today it has 2,500,000 views), which was quite an impressive number of views given the initial subscription base. While on WatchMojo that video would have gotten more views, (and as a result, earned us more revenue), we put short-term financial returns on the back burner in order to create a healthy environment where fans could enjoy clips without down votes, dislikes, or hurtful comments. That’s another manifestation of People ahead of Profit.
If you look at a sum of the parts strategy, the combined value of WatchMojo + MsMojo as a Time + People magazine kind of strategy is far more valuable than having just thought of the near-term revenue and profits, which took a hit by incubating and diligently growing MsMojo.
What have I always said: this that scale overnight are not necessarily sustainable, and things that are sustainable don’t scale overnight! I will take this healthy slow-and-steady graph over an overnight success anytime.
YouTube is Not Like Old Media
Like it or not, YouTube’s audiences have grown accustomed to expecting more of the same from any given channel they subscribe to. When someone watches NBC, they understand they will get Friends, Saturday Night Live, NBC News, and so on. On YouTube, our fans expect top 10 lists using clips on movies and TV shows. Deviating too much from the staple content of a given channel means creators are sometimes met with resistance. As mentioned, we wanted to be able to publish the content that is currently on MsMojo without having to deal with the negative pushback that might have emerged. We wanted to avoid having the vocal minority troll the comments section of the video, or downvote ideas on our Suggest Tool.
And the result is in the comments section where the community has validated, appreciated and ultimately vindicated our choice. MsMojo fans love the channel, and the whole point was to provide an environment where they could watch certain topics that simply wouldn’t make sense on WatchMojo. We also shifted celebrity content from WatchMojo to MsMojo – that too was a bit of a near-term hit, but worthwhile over time.
Like a restaurant, we’re more than happy to serve everyone! But if one patron attacks another, we cannot—we will not—tolerate that kind of behavior. Talk is cheap, action takes courage and conviction, and blocking out the noise.
A Final Word For My Community
Finally, to entrepreneurs: when I say timing matters, I think of MsMojo. When WatchMojo reached 1 million subscribers – of which roughly 20% were women – launching a channel dedicated to serving their interests didn’t really make sense. But once we reached 10 million subscribers, then the concept wasn’t crazy.
Now on that note, how’s this for transparency, diversity, inclusion, and wanting to serve your community. If you feel what these fine folks are feeling and want to help us better represent, hit me up.