Remember when you only went to Amazon to buy books and CDs? Or when Netflix only let you watch other companies' shows? How about when Reddit was just a place to see what was trending online? We're entering a very interesting stage in the continued evolution of popular internet brands. Instead of being facilitators of digital entertainment, we're seeing more of these companies become developers of digital entertainment. Amazon and Netflix are obvious given the successes of House of Cards, Daredevil, and Transparent. Reddit is the newest member of this cabal, as profiled by Wired's Issie Lapowsky.
"Ten years and 170 million users later, Reddit is finally developing into a full-fledged media company, running not only its own news site, but its own newsletter, podcast, and now, its own video site, Reddit Original Video. ... Founder Alexis Ohanian ... acknowledged that each new feature Reddit has rolled out over the last year — from the podcast to the video site — is designed to expand the company’s reach beyond its existing audience. 'These have all been steps on the evolution toward adding original content to Reddit, and amplifying the stuff that’s already happening on Reddit to a bigger audience,' he said."
Lapowsky delves deeper into the rationales behind Ohanian's announcement. The biggest is that Reddit's largest shareholder is enterprising media giant Advance Publications (which, incidentally enough, also owns Wired). Each and every stakeholder in this situation knows the time is ripe for Reddit to leverage its massive userbase — a built-in audience that has Advance salivating — and take the next step forward as a maturing company. One plan is to develop a video Q&A in which users submit questions that an expert answers on vi — hey wait a second; that sounds awfully familiar.
What's the takeaway here? Reddit is neither Amazon nor Netflix. Don't expect it to win any Emmys in the next couple years. That doesn't appear to be the aim at all. But remember when, during the 2014 Golden Globes, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler referenced Netflix's unprecedented success with a joke that Snapchat was set to win a Globe for itself in a couple years? To borrow a line: Silicon Valley has come to Hollywood.
And for Ohanian and company, the sky's the limit.
Read more at Wired.
Below, Reddit founder Ohanian details the successes and struggles of Reddit's first year — 10 whole years ago:
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