Interviews Movie Website Ownership Site Owners and Leaders

Interview: JoBlo’s Berge Garabedian on Growing a Site, Revenue, and Passion

Few movie websites on the Internet are as large and comprehensive as the JoBlo Movie Network.  Like others, I have watched Joblo grow and expand over the years, shepherded by its Founder/CEO Berge Garabedian (Joblo). “JoBlo.com was started in 1998…The website’s name…is a play on the term Joe Shmoe, and registered users of the website are known as ‘schmoes'”.

Heralded as a “one-stop-shop”, the Joblo Movie Network has separate websites for celebrity photos, horror movies, Blu-rays/DVDs, videos, movie posters, and a forum. The JoBlo Movie Network doesn’t want cinephiles going anywhere else to get the information or media they need (everything on the network is linked and synced with each other).

Joblo Movie Network Logo

Joblo Movie Network Logo

Unlike Rodney Brazeau’s TheMovieSnitch (ReelTime) and Candice Frederick’s Reel Talk, Ryan Parsons’s TrailerAddict is the only site approaching Joblo’s size and monthly visitors. With that in mind, my first question to Berge Garabedian in the interview was on Joblo’s size:

Was Joblo’s size and depth (the forum, trailer site, celeb site, etc.) always your plan or was it a necessity to deal with the amount of information you wanted to present to your audience?

Not at all. When I founded JoBlo.com back in 1998, the internet was just starting up, so nobody really knew where it was going. I was looking for a full-time job at the time (just graduated) and in the meantime, decided to dabble on the Internet by creating a website where I could post movie reviews of my own (I loved movies!) which would be different than all the offline reviews I’d been reading for years, which all seemed to be written by 50+ year old white men who couldn’t really appreciate ‘popcorn’ movies or many genre films. Over the years, I decided to add sections to the site according to other movie items that I was interested in, including movie trailers, movie news, release dates, to the point where we started getting recognized by studios and being invited to set visits and junkets, which led to celebrity interviews and such. It wasn’t until 2001, that I was able to quit my full-time day job and take on JoBlo.com as a full-time business of my own. I’ve continued to keep up with the changes on the Internet since that time, and always adjusted the site accordingly. So far, so good.

How does JoBlo generate revenue and what steps has it taken to diversify that over the years?

There aren’t too many ways to generate revenues on the Internet these days other than posting advertisements on your site. I would say that 90% of most fansites generate their revenues as such. You can also make some money by joining affiliate programs like Amazon.com whereby you are paid a small % of sales that your readers make at those sites via your links. Most recently, with mobile traffic and videos starting to become a bigger part of the Internet, we are also starting to generate some smaller revenues via the mobile site (not much happening revenue-wise in this segment just yet, but it is growing so who knows) as well as video pre-rolls, which are essentially 15-second “commercials” shown before most videos on the site. I’m always looking out for different ways to generate revenues via the site (we recently launched a JoBlo.com T-shirt store, for example), but after 15 years on the Net, the main source of revenue continues to be: advertisements.

What is the best advice you can give to an aspiring movie webmaster/film critic about a movie website and its architecture?

A lot of people ask me for advice and while I don’t consider myself an expert by any means, I always try to impart my own keys to success, since those are the only ones I know. Basically, I created my site out of my true PASSION for movies. I wasn’t trying to create a business. I wasn’t looking to make money. I wasn’t thinking to grow or get famous or anything of the sort. I just enjoyed watching movies and writing, and noticed a lack of “younger critics” around and decided to give it a shot! I was always honest in my reviews (never spoke down to anyone) and on the site, and have always written every single person who sent me an email back, because without our audience, we’re nothing. Over the years, I’ve continuously updated the site and audited its sections for stuff that was working/and wasn’t, and adjusted accordingly. Just like life itself, I believe that it’s important to change with the times, otherwise you will fall behind. I continue to focus on the new trends and interests of movie fans on our site today, and believe that anyone can be successful with their own site/blog if they create it from a real passion, work very smartly and hard, and certainly get a little lucky along the way – although many would say that you also create your own luck by “putting yourself out there”, which is also true. Nobody ever got anywhere from sitting around and hoping for things. You need to DO it.

In Conclusion

What did you think of the interview and the advice Mr. Garabedian gave? Was it helpful?

About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started ProMovieBlogger to educate others on what he had learned through trial and error. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook (http://film-book.com), he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He also created and runs Trending Awards.com.

Traffic

Increase Traffic to your Website with a widget like this from Zergnet.

Send this to a friend