Eager to show that it has matured beyond its “boobs and blokes” image, the publisher of U.K. site The Lad Bible has tapped one of Vice Media’s editors to help it act its age.
Vice Media’s deputy managing editor, Ian Moore, will join as content director in early November. He will lead a 30-strong editorial and video production team working across Lad Bible parent company 65twenty’s brand list, including Lad Bible, Sports Bible and Odds Bible.
The Lad Bible launched in 2012 appealing to male university students, making a name for itself with features like Bumday Monday and Cleavage Thursday. It has since been accused of perpetrating sexist behavior among students, confusing its commercial content with editorial and not appropriately attributing image credits. But with Moore’s hire, expect it to shed some of its shady and salacious image.
The 65twenty portfolio has 35 million monthly uniques, and according to Google Analytics, its weekly reach is 127 million. Much of the success of Lad Bible has been in mainly aggregating online videos to social platforms, particularly to Facebook. Data from Tubular shows its Facebook videos have had a total of 9.2 billion views, with each video averaging over 3 million views from its 10.5 million followers, making it the 13th-biggest Facebook video aggregator.
But Moore explained to Digiday that it’s not just the massive reach; it’s the quality of the community that encouraged him to make the move from Vice, where he was the deputy managing editor for Vice.com.
“What interested me was this huge audience that no one seemed to be harnessing,” he said. “We’re getting 1,500 submissions a day from the community, ranging from things they’ve found online to user-generated videos to pitches for stories.”
Moore mentioned he’s been seeing a lot of potential in branching out into community-generated content around young people’s mental health, youth gang crime, and army injuries in particular.
As part of making the site more sophisticated, Moore places a premium on proper accreditation. It will be “absolutely vital” creators get credited for what they do,” he said, and it is also making a number of partnerships with other video-hosting sites and to get its rights and attributions in order. Whether remuneration for content creators will happen when brands advertise against this content is too early to tell.
Moore and his team will be ramping up the long- and short-form original video output for Lad Bible, strengthening its position from video aggregator to creator, and drawing on his Vice experience to bring more investigative features.
The Lad Bible has been in the process of cleaning up its content for some time, swapping out features like Bumday Monday, for more Upworthy-worthy, less dude-specific posts like “Dad Gets Tattoo of Hearing Aid So Daughter Doesn’t Feel Different,” which made the rounds online. The more ribald, less sophisticated fare, said Moore, “wasn’t clever enough for the audience. That’s not on the site anymore because people don’t want to see it.”
Phasing out the raunchier content also helps create a more brand-safe environment, attracting brands like Unilever, Sky, O2 and Nissan. Industry estimates suggest Lad Bible is making north of £2 million ($3 million) in annual ad revenue — more than double what BuzzFeed estimated it to be last year.
It could probably monetize its audience more but has gone down a more conservative ad model route. On mobile, for instance, it only serves one video ad per day per user, regardless of how much content is watched.