The king of the internet jungle, Amazon lets you – the audience – in on the development process for its original video content.
...because who says you can’t try to answer “life’s big questions” in viral videos and other web friendly content? Rainn Wilson, aka Dwight Schrute from “The Office” and that guy who dropped the mic on Juno, launched SoulPancake with co-founders Devon Grundy and Josh Homnick in 2008 as an experimental internet space to do just that. Since then, the site has evolved into a multi-platform production company and agency with over 1.5 million subscribers to its YouTube channel. Drawing on Wilson’s Baha’I background and faith, SoulPancake balances serious subjects like death and homelessness with a fun and positive message that appeals to digital audiences.
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SoulPancake has become one of the most prominent media companies in the digital arena. In addition to the web platform and popular YouTube channel, SoulPancake also runs a creative agency and produces digital content for MTV, OWN and Pivot. Using co-production partnerships and branded content, the site has attracted investors and financing deals in the range of $100 million. And if that’s not enough, the company also published a good old-fashioned print book, the New York Times bestseller "SoulPancake: Chewing Life’s Big Questions." Fast Company recently named SoulPancake one of the ten most innovative video companies, a list that included a little Burbank-based startup called Disney.
Cynics can criticize the company for making serious issues into easily consumed bits of media, but SoulPancake is committed to social awareness. The positive messages of their videos have tapped into a large network of viewers who care about the content’s themes. SoulPancake has driven its audience beyond hashtag activism into real work for charities, raising over $2 million for cancer research and providing millions of meals through the viral Socktober campaign and partnerships with the Conagra Food Foundation.
Sure, it probably helps to have this generation’s breakout sitcom character on board to draw clicks. Yet it was really the first “Kid President” video that transformed SoulPancake from an actor’s pet project into a legitimate web destination. Realizing they had a true viral hit on their hands, the creators quickly spun this into a popular series that even featured Kid President meeting the actual President of the United States. Still, it’s one thing to bait and another to catch, with SoulPancake managing to keep its audience interested in other content forms beyond this early success.
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