One year in, Jomboy Media’s warehouse studio showcases the evolution of creator-owned media businesses
A year into its existence, Jomboy Media is using its dedicated studio space to create new career paths for both digital content creators and traditional sports broadcasting experts.
Jomboy Media is a multimedia entertainment company founded by YouTubers Jimmy “Jomboy” O’Brien and Jake Storiale in 2017. Since its early days as a Yankees-focused baseball podcast, Jomboy Media has grown into a full-fledged production company and creator collective, one of the most prominent examples of a creator-owned media operation. The company announced a $5 million funding round earlier this year and opened its own warehouse studio space in January 2022.
Like many modern digital content businesses, much of Jomboy Media’s revenue comes from sponsorships signed by both individual creators and the company as a whole with non-endemic brands such as SeatGeek, Amtrak and Manscaped. The company also operates a burgeoning merchandise business. (Jomboy Media representatives declined to provide specific figures regarding the company’s revenues in recent years.)
To see how Jomboy’s studio space took shape after its first year of operation, Digiday visited the location — a former warehouse in Jersey City — and discovered an environment that highlighted the ways content creators are increasingly pairing high-production-level broadcasting technology and expertise with a freeform digital-creator ethos.
“It’s professional technology with an amateur feel,” Storiale said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys in here playing Blitzball and it’s ridiculous, it’s summer camp — but the final product will be ESPN-level quality.”
To turn this vision into a reality, Storiale and O’Brien have accrued a staff largely pulled from the ranks of traditional broadcasting and sports media. One of their first hires for the studio was Dan Meyer, who led production operations for Vice Media Group for years before joining Jomboy Media. The Jomboy Media founders were after Meyer’s technical broadcasting expertise — not his level of familiarity with their specific brand of zany sports and gaming content, which was almost nil before he joined the company in April 2022.
“It was really mind blowing, because it showed me how many internets there are out there for different people,” Meyer said. “This thing did not exist on my radar at all, and then I show up and I’m like, ‘look at the view counts on the videos they make — this is a thing that millions of people know about.’”
By creating sports content palatable to a younger digital audience, Jomboy Media has also blazed new potential career paths for other types of professionals from the traditional sports space. Chris Rose, the prominent television sportscaster, has been a podcast host and content creator for the company since 2021; administrative staff such as Jomboy Media content operations manager Samantha Taskey have also previously worked for traditional sports teams like the New York Yankees.
“They’ll sometimes randomly say my name on air, and I got my uncle and cousin to listen to the podcast,” Taskey said. “They’ll text me all the time and say, ‘Sam, I hear this is going on.’”
Indeed, one perhaps unintentional, but useful aspect of Jomboy Media’s studio space is that it has created natural opportunities for the entertainment company’s non-front-facing staff to become content creators in their own right. Through behind-the-scenes videos and other tangential content, Jomboy’s rank-and-file staff have become part of the narrative as well. Even Tom Piccolo, Jomboy’s director of communications, hosts his own Jomboy-associated podcast, Talkin’ Knicks.
“We’ve done office vlogs from the warehouse; everyone’s here, and we just pick up a camera and shoot when something happens,” said Jomboy Media content editor Robert Moretti, who cut his teeth in local broadcast sports media before joining the company. “It’s actually cool, sometimes, to watch it and be like, ‘oh, I was out that day. I missed something.’”
Of course, being part of a collective owned and managed by creators is helpful for the bona fide content creators in Jomboy’s employ, too. The warehouse space acts as both a filming and networking location; when Digiday visited, Jomboy Media members including the baseball YouTubers We Got Ice were in the middle of filming a collaboration with Major League Wiffle Ball.
For We Got Ice founders Lorenzo DeMalia and Jack Doyle, joining Jomboy Media meant they could upgrade from grinding out footage in their backyards to filming in a well-lit, 12-camera studio — and enlist the experienced content-creation brains of O’Brien and Storiale to continue to expand their audience.
“It’s much better than bouncing ideas off your mom at dinner,” Doyle said.
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