Nerdist, a channel co-founded by popular comic/”nerd” Chris Hardwick, has come a long way since its establishment a few years ago, recently reaching a million subscribers on its video streaming services. But that isn’t stopping the site from shooting for bigger aspirations.
Nerdist president Adam Rymer believes Nerdist has accomplished quite a lot, but there’s room to accomplish much more. “We look at ourselves as a modern cable network,” he said. “If you’re SyFy, you’re stuck on your linear platform. You’re broadcasting, you’re programming and you’re getting shows, but your ability to interact with your community is primitive. For us, we’re built around that interaction. We can do lots of things that they can’t do. It feels like the evolution of television, the evolution of media.”
The multichannel network has worked in the site’s favor, with a number of podcasts, shows and web series that have drawn a huge audience. “I look at the MCNs more like talent discovery agencies where they get a whole bunch of talent, one really skyrockets and they try to monetize them in some way,” Rymer continued. “We’re looking for people who already have an audience and the ability to create IP [intellectual property]. We don’t have the resources to help hand feed somebody or show them how to make money off YouTube. We want to own the IP. We want to discover stories that connect with our community and figure out how to use them, versus just trying to figure out how to gain eyeballs. ”
The website has recently sustained a number of deals for its programs, including All Star Celebrity Bowling‘s shift to AMC and more coming to Comedy Central. But that’s just the beginning, as Rymer has bigger aspirations, with more web series and other content. “Bigger picture, I think you’ll see us looking at different channels that might be interesting to add to the network. Not individual talent, but other brands that fit in with the Nerdist lifestyle and community that have a bunch of subscribers and are also creating content,” he concluded. “We want to create a larger network like any other media company—like a Viacom or a Disney. We’re still trying to figure it out. Right now we’re going to stick to the sweet spot of what we know, and eventually, as our ad sales team understands how to monetize that space better, get things that are not too far afield.”
You can check out more Nerdist action over at the official page.