(Reston, VA--January 27, 2016) VideoBlocks
, the first membership-based provider of stock media, today announced the appointment of their new Chief Executive Officer, TJ Leonard, who, over the past two and a half years led the company to record-setting growth as Chief Marketing Officer.
In 2015, the new VideoBlocks Marketplace reached one million video clips and $1M in contributor commissions several years faster than any company in history, while simultaneously growing its member base to over 130,000 paying members. Now, as CEO, Leonard will continue to drive the company’s growth strategy and deliver against the vision of making VideoBlocks the must have membership for all content creators by accelerating how the company introduces new products and content to its membership, while paying the most contributor-friendly commissions in the stock media industry.
Joel Holland, founder and former CEO, will fulfill the role of Executive Chairman of VideoBlocks, and work to form new industry partnerships, similar to those from 2015, which included organizations such as Discovery Communications, YouTube, Vimeo and BuzzFeed. In his new role, Holland will represent VideoBlocks among the creative community, and secure partnerships that will be mutually beneficial for all parties involved, particularly the mass creative class. Past collaborations have enhanced the Marketplace tremendously, with professional-level quality content, and by solidifying additional partnerships like these, artists will have access to even more superior content.
“As the company continues to evolve, and more complex needs emerge, it has become clear that the team needs both a CEO to continue to drive growth and product innovation on a daily basis, as well as a full time Executive Chairman to represent the business within the video and media industries,” said TJ Leonard, CEO of VideoBlocks, “The team’s core value is to put artists first, and with this transition, we can build the types of partnerships and products necessary to make VideoBlocks the first place every creative goes when starting a new project.”
VideoBlocks CEO TJ Leonard
On the heels of a record-setting year in which VideoBlocks added 50% more new members in Q4 than any previous quarter, the new Video Marketplace reached one million clips while paying out over $1M in commission to their artists in just nine months, with top contributors making up to six figures in their first year.
"Between when we launched in April at NAB and the end of 2015, we passed over 1 million clips from 8000 contributors," says Holland, adding, "This was twice what expected, even in our very optimistic scenarios. It took Shutterstock 7 years to get to a million clips. We thought we’d be faster that that, but we didn’t think we’d be six years
While the company certainly had expectations for the success of the VideoBlocks Marketplace, it hinged on an unknown: after training customers to expect a free trial period, followed by unlimited downloads from a subscription library, would they become buyers of additional files? "And they have," says Holland. "They start by searching the unlimited library they're already subscribing to, then search the marketplace for specific clips to fill in the gap, rather than go to competing sites." To the tune, as noted, of $1 million paid to artists in the first 9 months of the Marketplace.
He notes that customers have successfully moved in the other direction as well: 20% of VideoBlocks Marketplace customers are also subscribing to the rest of the company's offerings.
In addition, VideoBlocks’ membership has downloaded over 60M files across its video, graphics and music properties. Under Leonard’s leadership, the company will continue to emphasize growth in the Unlimited Library alongside the new Marketplace by expanding into new content types such as the 75,000 photos it added to GraphicStock at the end of 2015.
"We saw the GraphicStock business grow 250% year over year after that addition," says Leonard, who sees it as part of the member-focused development across all of the company's properties. "The success that bubbles to the surface is always a reflection of the hard work of our team behind the scenes, but we’ve always been good about going back to our membership and asking, what can we do that will bring more value for you?
"I think we’ve also been good at checking in with our contributors, to find out what they’re excited about, maybe where they feel they’ve gotten the short end of the stick. This is the cycle that led us to open GraphicStock in 2013, and AudioBlocks in 2014, and then in 2015, the idea that we would have a membership marketplace where contributors would keep 100% of the royalties."
The company’s evolution within the stock media industry is unmatched, and with any advancement comes change. VideoBlocks not only reached one million videos in their Video Marketplace faster than any other company in history, but the team’s video library is also growing twice as fast as industry giants. This is credited to the team’s continued commitment to ensure artists are awarded fair compensation for their creations. VideoBlocks’ 100% commission structure on the Marketplace shook up the industry in 2015, and the team has even bigger plans to push this concept further, to more artists, in 2016.
"The conversations we have with our members and contributors are energizing. They’re inspiring to us. It feels like we’re on the front edge of what we can become," says Leonard. "I think we’re going to see even more separation between the real industry leaders and some of the other companies in 2016. We’re grateful that, thanks to Joel, our clarity of purpose, our focus, and the executional excellence of the team we’ve built have allowed us to nudge ourselves into that group of prime contenders to disrupt some of the bigger players. We’re excited by that, and we want to be closing that gap every day."
is a profitable, venture-backed stock media company recognized in 2014 by Inc. Magazine as the eleventh fastest growing media company in the United States. Together with its sister sitesGraphicStock
, VideoBlocks empowers customers to enhance their creative projects, ranging from professional production studios like NBC, Discovery and MTV to pro-sumers and enthusiasts like colleges, churches and video editing hobbyists. Founder and CEO Joel Holland has been named one of the "Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25" by BusinessWeek Magazine, "Young Entrepreneur of the Year" by the United States Small Business Administration, “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst and Young for the Greater Washington DC Region, and made Inc. Magazine’s prestigious “30 Under 30” list in 2013. The company is based in Reston, Virginia.