4 min read

Jungle Creations’ Jamie Bolding: Content is King, ‘Now More than Ever’

In our seventh edition of The Rough Cut, where we interview the biggest innovators in digital video, Storyhunter Co-Founder Alex Ragir…
Jungle Creations’ Jamie Bolding: Content is King, ‘Now More than Ever’
Jamie Bolding and Alex Ragir at Jungle Creations headquarters in East London.
Jungle Creations’ Founder/CEO Jamie Bolding and Storyhunter Co-Founder Alex Ragir in Jungle’s London headquarters.

In our seventh edition of The Rough Cut, where we interview the biggest innovators in digital video, Storyhunter Co-Founder Alex Ragir stops by Jungle Creations’ office in East London. He spoke with Jamie Bolding, the 27-year -old founder and CEO, who has built the most-viewed media brand on Facebook, and one of the biggest digital media companies in the world.

They discussed the social-media success story that Bolding created with his first brand Viral Thread (VT), expanding to a 140 person multi-brand conglomerate, and how Jungle Creations has diversified their revenue streams — making more money from the audience they’ve built, using other platforms. With their six brands (Four Nine, Kidspiration, Twisted, Level Fitness, World Unkown, and VT), they’ve garnered 85 million followers and about 5.5 billion monthly video-views across platforms.

One week after this was taped, Jungle Creations announced that it raised the equivalent of $3.8M for a U.S. expansion.

Below are edited highlights from the conversation:

Engagement over Views

“Views are obviously an important part of what we do, because it’s reaching as many people as possible. But the main thing for us is engagement. We’re trying to build communities with our media brands. We have built communities, and to do so it wasn’t only about getting the clicks and views, it’s consistently creating content that your audience want to engage with it, that they enjoy, and want to come back to.”

Original Content, High Payout

“[Twisted] was a completely new model for us. We were building a media brand which had no R.O.I., we had no revenue on Facebook. We were investing as a media brand, so we could go to clients and say, ‘We want to integrate your products with our videos’. That’s big bucks.

It was the first time we were actually not making money with something. We were investing in original content, we were investing in the community, and it really payed dividends. Because it was original content, we could control it, we could get the better results. You could build a much more invested and engaged community and a much higher quality brand as a result. Then when we went to clients and said, ‘We’re Twisted, we get millions of views, and we have an engaged community’, brands would say, ‘Let’s do it’.”

U.G.C. is a Thing of the Past

“Original content is the focus. We built our business off the back of U.G.C. (user generated content), but it’s a thing of the past. Especially as a media company, we stepped away from it a couple of years ago. We’re doing documentaries through Storyhunter, which is fantastic. Actually, our first documentary [through Storyhunter] got 14 million views, Slab City.”

Since original content is a huge focus for us across all of our media brands, of course we have different types of content — whether that be recipe videos, help videos, interviews, fitness videos — but for VT we’re trying to create documentaries.”

“Social media is not going to go away. It might move to different platforms, but it’s not going to go away.”

Don’t Fight Changes to Social Media - Adapt

“At the end of the day, Facebook wants to do what is best for the users, and we want to do what is best for the users. When Facebook made an announcement that they’re going to favor original content in the newsfeed — that’s great for us! We want to do more original content, more long-form. As long as the algorithm is helping us in that mission, then that’s absolutely fine.

There is always going to be this apprehension towards FB, towards social, towards platforms — but it’s not going to change. Social media is not going to go away. I know that for sure. It might move to different platforms, but it’s not going to go away. We will always be a business that operates on social media.”

Slab City, the VT documentary produced through Storyhunter which garnered 14 million views.

Monetize Through Different Means

“Our core ways of monetization are: programatic or display ads on site, monetizing videos on Facebook and Youtube thanks to rev-share, and the third way is branded-content. Branded content makes up about 60%, and programmatic and social-views make up about 40%. At our core, we are a media and marketing company.

Then we thought, with this expertise and marketing business, knowing how to reach millions of people, and having millions of people at our fingertips — there is such a big opportunity there. One is to branch out the brands we already built. So, the Twisted delivery restaurant, which is one of the best performing restaurants in the area because of the brand we built online. We’ve done a Twisted bar pop-up , which is once again using the Twisted brand. We built a Twisted cookbook… You build a community and then you have so many ways of monetizing that through merchandizing.”

Content is King

“Going back to that old classic term, ‘content is king’— the good news for everyone is that is completely true. More true than it ever has been. Platforms are all focusing on the same goal — Facebook with Facebook Watch, Instagram with IGTV, Snapchat with Originals, Youtube with Red or Premium — every single platform is focused on long-form original content. What does that say about the industry?

It shows a very clear path as to where it’s going to go. The good thing is that the platforms are going to be investing and encouraging longer form, high-quality content, which means there is going to be more demand for it on the publisher side. What will be interesting to see is how the users react to it — all this long form content going out. It’s not all going to get watched. There will be some success stories, but there will also be some opposites of success stories.”


Previous episodes of The Rough Cut:

Greg Gilderman, Global Head of Video and Editor-in-Chief, Weather Channel

Warren Cohen, Head of Video, New York Post

Zahra Rasool, Editorial Lead, Contrast VR

Jason Beauregard, Head of Studio, VaynerMedia

Courtney Coupe, VP of Content, Great Big Story

Stone Roberts, VP of Global Video Strategy, Refinery29


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By Jordan M. Rapaport, Storyhunter Writer