Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld are best known for their eight-year running producing the hit web series Jake and Amir for the website Collegehumor.com.
But now with the help of their friend Marty Michael, who worked in sales at Collegehumor, the trio have together founded the podcasting network Headgum.
The network initially launched in August 2015 with ten shows, but almost a year later they now have about 30 shows, attracting 500,000 users per month who access content through their website, iTunes and the Google app store.
Starting Their Own Thing
“Really this was about starting our own thing, we wanted to have the ownership,” said Jake, pointing out that he and Amir spent more than a year on other networks.
To that end, Jake and Amir launched Headgum by bringing in the talent nearest and dearest to them: their friends and family, who created original audio content. “We dictate our own process,” Amir said.
Marty, who had experience with sales, has worked on monetizing the business while Jake and Amir focus on making their brand known as the podcast network driven by content owners.
The Gigster Experience
The trio is working with Gigster on two projects: Gumball, which is their proprietary way to sell ads across podcasts; and the Headgum mobile app, which will put all of Headgum’s content under one umbrella so users can easily subscribe and stream.
The team had a good experience working with Gigster on Gumball, so they went back to get a quote for creating the Headgum app.
Amir’s brother, who works in Silicon Valley, initially told Amir about Gigster. Amir said he, Jake, and Marty were looking for the best and easiest way to build an online presence.
“We knew when we wanted to build this product but we didn’t necessarily have the funds to hire an engineer or a team of designers,” Amir said about the Headgum app.
The trio pursued other developers but decided to go with Gigster. Their entire search process took about a month. Their previous experience with Gigster helped them ultimately decide to go with them, so they submitted their idea, got a quote, and were on their way.
The Pitch Process
Jake, Amir, and Marty have an open pitch process for aspiring podcasters, but they note that they are currently at capacity for shows that are not already established.
They are targeting shows that have more than 25,000 listeners so they can more easily connect them with advertisers or get them better terms on their contracts. They still accept new ideas but, Marty said, cannot immediately act on pursuing them.
The three know they face a daunting task: competing with more established networks like NPR, which gets nearly 10 million users per month, and more recent entrants like The Nerdist, started by entertainer Chris Hardwick, which garners one million users per month by marketing to people’s “nerdy passions.”
Surpassing The Competition
Still, they said they strive to compete with, and one day surpass, their competitors. They see themselves as attracting talented people who want a sense of independence and are not producing podcasts just for the money.
“There are not a lot of podcast networks that were started by artists,” Jake said. “We’re angling to work with people that are passionate about their podcast and their art.”
Getting your own project up and running takes a lot of hard work. Gigster can help.