Fail Army: The Meanest Kind of Comedy That Feels Sooo Good

/ Oct 19, 2013

ComedyIssure

If “Full House” daddy Bob Saget taught me anything as a kid, it was that being a nice dad gets you nowhere. Being the host of a show that generates tear-jerking laughter at other people’s expense (“America’s Funniest Home Videos,” for those of you who live on Mars), now that’s money.

Bottom line, there’s something about laughing at other people’s idiocy that never goes out of style. So when I was introduced to the Fail Army crew, I was reminded of the gratification that comes from watching other people’s pain, and for the Fail Army channel, operated by Los Angeles-based Jukin Media, gratification comes in the form of millions upon millions of subscribers and views.

And by extension lots of “dolla dolla bills, y’all” from brands, networks, and TV shows — not to mention the revenue generated from ads on YouTube across hundreds of compilation videos.

In only a year since launching, Fail Army’s measurements have amounted to:

3.37+ MM subs

529+ MM views

Most-viewed video — “
The Ultimate Girls Fail Compilation 2012” — with 104,000,000 views

All judgement aside about the fact that women failing is the highest-viewed video Junkin Media boasts to date, the premise still stands: “Everyone has had a moment that [they’d] love to go back in time and redo, so it’s something that we all have in common,” says Jonathan Skogmo, president and CEO of Junkin Media.

Building a business around that commonality has been particularly lucrative for Fail Army’s parent Junkin Media, the four year old company that aims to “reward creators” by helping them license and distribute their content across platforms.

“The entire business was designed to reward video creators. We achieve that in many ways, but chief among them is by licensing their videos to media companies, TV networks, ad agencies, and other entertainment outlets,” adds Skogmo.

This isn’t a foreign concept for those who are familiar with Fishbowl Media Worldwide, which has rights to the “America’s Funniest Home Videos” clip library. And while Fishbowl Media Worldwide tried to create a Fail Army type of channel with pets and animal videos called Petsami as part of YouTube’s original programming initiative in 2012, it has been miserably unsuccessful, only capturing 80K subs to date and handfuls of views on each video.

Jukin Media on the other hand is operating over 10 other channels in its network with over 200M monthly views and 3.5 million subscribers aggregated.

“Fail Army is just one of the consumer-facing sides of a much larger overall business that includes licensing, branding, and distribution,” notes Skogmo.

But Fail Army steadily grew a dedicated and robust following since it began posting videos in early 2012, capping at 450k subs by December 2012. So in 2013 alone, Fail Army has gained nearly 3 million subscribers — but how?

Certainly not because times are tough for (damn near) everyone right now, and seeing some innocent moron drive a motorcycle into a parked car helps point to the painful reality that things could be much worse.

At the end of the day, don’t feel guilty or shamed about watching and laughing at someone else’s expense. After all, as Skogmo adds, “Much of the content that you see on Fail Army is sent in directly from the fans. People want to see their videos on Fail Army, the ones that are ready to laugh at themselves, anyway.” So laugh with them…and at them.

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