One would continue to focus on shows licensed to third parties, and the other would work on programming for the subscription service. According to two sources familiar with the matter, although employees were asked which group they would prefer to work for, it was clear which venture IAC was betting on: By the beginning of , just six people were working on shows for third parties, while more than 60 people were making content for the subscription service, eventually christened Dropout. IAC is retaining a minority stake. How CollegeHumor got there is a story of a publisher that seemingly got it all right but still ran into trouble. Even though CollegeHumor was only intermittently profitable throughout its history year history, according to four sources familiar with its finances, it was consistently innovative and forward-thinking. CollegeHumor embraced revenue diversification almost a decade before most media companies were even considering it. The margins on its branded content business, long one of the biggest sources of revenue for the company, had been slimmed by increasing competition, three sources familiar with the matter said. So CollegeHumor tried to bring in subscription revenue through Dropout.
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More than people had lost their jobs. Kate Knibbs. Brian Raftery. Jason Parham. CollegeHumor shape-shifted frequently during its year run, but the evolutions were expansions: bicoastal offices, more staffers, higher production values. In it launched its own streaming service , Dropout. Now the company has abruptly folded inward, turning back into a bare-bones media startup after decades of growth. Reich is beloved within the CollegeHumor community—WIRED spoke with more than a dozen former employees, and the praise was unanimously effusive, rare for someone who just laid a bunch of people off. But he is the steward of an uncertain future, in a marketplace that rewards a handful of gigantic digital platforms while pinching the rest, and he can only pay a skeleton staff to revive a company whittled into a decimated relic of itself. The laid-off employees are entering a job market that has been brutal to online comedy.