What happened? We used to be about creating viral, actionable, web-based content for the 13- to 19-year-old-demographic. Now all we care about is money, money, money – and frankly, it makes me sick.
Our branded content used to SAY SOMETHING about the various products created by multinational conglomerates who paid us gobs of money as part of their omni-channel marketing campaign to reach those elusive and fickle tweens. Now we’re just pumping out millennial-focused digital content because we’re contractually obligated to do so until 2020. Where’s the passion, the heart, the love?
When our global digital media company were first announced as a joint venture between AT&T, Lionsgate, and ABS Capital, we had one rule: produce sub-one minute, low-cost, highly shareable content across the hundreds of multimedia platforms our parent companies have interests in. It was exactly the punk rock wild west you imagine. People showed up to work whenever they wanted, promptly at 9, and left whenever they wanted, but never before 8. One guy even had a hoverboard. So what happened to the ideals we built this company on – delivering higher stock prices to shareholders, establishing content franchises, and being a shell corporation for one of the Koch brothers?
When I started working here, I was willing to put in the long hours because I believed in the gamification of user-generated content. Now, I’m only doing it for the paycheck, health insurance + vision/dental, employer-matching 401k, stock options, and really fun Christmas parties DJ-ed by Khalid. I used to love aggregating content creators, adding our company’s watermark, and pushing it across our thirty seven different social media platforms. But now, I just feel empty.
We received millions in VC funding from Silicon Valley because we were a ragtag bunch of big data thought leaders with something to prove. When we told them second-screen engagement and snackable content was the future, they laughed in our faces and purchased minority ownership. And look at us now – we’ve become just another humorless marketing firm skillfully manipulating the buying habits of underage consumers. And that’s not the kind of person I have always set out to be.