A new chapter for CollegeHumor and internet comedy
By Jacey Gibb, Distribution Manager
It’s no secret that making money off of the internet can be a fickle business. Look at how the transition to online readership has torpedoed advertising revenue for most media organizations, or how other online platforms are shuttering their theoretical doors altogether.
“Making internet videos is challenging, mostly because it pays dick and dick doesn’t pay for internet videos,” laments CollegeHumor president of content Sam Reich in a YouTube video titled “How the Internet is Ruining Comedy.”
Reich explains how the majority of their videos can’t be monetized on YouTube due to containing “controversial” content, despite how vague and encompassing a label that is. He also takes a stab at branded content—videos or articles where a particular product is featured in a supposedly organic fashion in exchange for advertising revenue.
“So what do we do?” Reich continues in the same video. “How do we produce the shows we want and you want, without watering them down for advertiser or networks? The answer is by going straight to you.”
Enter Dropout TV, the new subscription streaming service being offered by CollegeHumor.
By launching their own subscription service, the jokesters over at CollegeHumor hope to fund the R-rated content they want to without having to dilute it for advertisers. Dropout offers new and returning sketch web series as well as original comics and “interactive” chat stories. Subscribers also get access to CollegeHumor’s usual short-form sketch videos before they’re available on the parent website.
CollegeHumor began releasing some of their longer-format videos in the months leading up to Dropout, so regular viewers should already have a taste of what’s being offered. Like any streaming service, the highs are high while the lows are… mostly just okay.
One early favourite of mine is Rank Room, where host Katie Marovitch and three other panelists discuss life’s most ridiculous questions. (The first episode asks, “What is the sexiest way to die?” and it’s as glorious as it sounds.) Another favourite is Dimension 20: Fantasy High, a largely improvised fantasy campaign like Dungeons & Dragons played by current CollegeHumor cast members and previous alumni. There’s also See Plum Run, a continuation of the Precious Plum videos that so gloriously lampooned the Here Comes Honey Boo Boo craze of the early 2010s.
However, the website is still in its beta phase so there are a few issues that need addressing. For now, Dropout is only available through the website, unlike other streaming services that offer their own app. Promisingly though, Reich responded to a tweet on October 1 saying that apps would be available “before the end of the year.” The website can also be slow to respond, and videos from further back in CollegeHumor’s archives sometimes have difficulty loading.
As well, many of the shows such as Paranoia, Total Forgiveness, and Troopers were advertised in their introductory video as “coming soon” but they remain MIA from the website. In the meantime, Dropout has compiled many of the shorter sketch series like Jake & Amir and The Adventures of Kim Jong-Un into one place for you to binge.
I’ll be diving into Dropout’s original series more in future articles, so I won’t go into them here. However, if you’re on the fence, I’ll say that some shows on their own are worth the monthly subscription cost of $3.99 US. When the beta phase ends in November, the cost jumps to $5.99 US. If paying for content isn’t really your thing though, you can sign up for a free seven-day trial—but in that case, you’re kind of missing the point of the whole experiment.