Paywalls aren’t funny: CollegeHumor is the latest company to try a subscription service

CollegeHumor is the latest media company to switch to a subscription platform amid advertising-related restrictions from platforms like YouTube and many others.

September 28, 2018

CollegeHumor, a comedy website owned by holding group IAC, is launching DROPOUT, an ad-free subscription service.

CollegeHumor joins the flood of media publishers that have looked to the latest trends to diversify their revenue streams, encouraged by surveys showing that most Americans are willing to pay for content to escape advertising.

The service, still in beta testing, will cost $5.99 for month-to-month access, $4.99 for 6 months, and $3.99 for 12 months. 

The heyday’s over

Internet comedy has fallen far — and it’s still plunging. The early aughts birthed inter-comedy staples like the Lonely Island, and Will Ferrell screaming at a drunk baby. 

But a decade later — through the rise of influencers, *cough* listicles, and Facebook’s offer that content companies (literally) couldn’t refuse — the meteoric rise quickly turned to Boogie Nights in the ’80s.

CollegeHumor was there for all of it after launching in 1999 as a spoof and goof repository. Over the years, it paved the way for Funny Or Die, Jash, and What The Funny? — all of which have been reduced to a step above rubble.

But somehow, CollegeHumor has stuck around

It’s limping like the rest of them, sure. But it accrued over 13m YouTube subscribers, produced TV darling Adam Ruins Everything, built a successful branded unit, and reportedly doubled revenue in the past 5 years, making it one of web comedy’s few legacy brands.

And 60% of its revenue comes from content-licensing versus 40% from advertising, so why not cut out ad-related restrictions amid the current digital sector crunch?

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