Joivan, Percy and Dee of The Wall of Comedy
Joivan Wade, co-founder of The Wall of Comedy, charts the companies growth from start-up to becoming one of the UK's most viewed comedy platforms...
The Wall of Comedy is a London-based online comedy platform which boasts over 250 million views every month.
Set up just two years ago by three friends and budding actors, the platform is now one of the UK’s most popular comedy platforms.
Co-founder and CEO Joivan Wade caught up with BQ to reveal the secrets to its success…
Tell us about Wall of Comedy – what does the company do and how does the business model work?
The Wall of Comedy is currently the number 1 comedy platform in the UK, it achieves over 250 million views per month and over 3.2 billion views across its content. Our platform provides a unique avenue for comedy creators around the world to not only produce but also share their most hilarious online content that reaches over 100 million people weekly.
Because we have grown the platform organically very quickly (in under two years), we are able to monetise from platforms such as Facebook and Youtube (our biggest subscriber base) as well as via collaborations with brands to develop tailored content for them which is aimed at youth-skewed audiences.
What were you all doing previously? Did any of you have any business experience?
Myself, Percy and Dee are actors, comedians, writers and producers and have been from an early age. We studied at a performing arts school (BRIT School) and went onto get various different roles in things like Eastenders, Casualty and Dr Who.
However, we were able to achieve a lot of recognition through an online comedy series we launched about five years ago called Mandem on the Wall which went viral. We still all individually pursue our own roles in TV and film and have some exciting projects in the pipeline.
Last year, we produced a BBC3 sketch show called The JPD Show through our production arm, JPD3 Entertainment. Devising and producing our own original shows and formats has opened our eyes more to the commercial and business side of development but we didn’t have any experience of growing an online distribution/publishing platform so we’re learning as we go.
Did you encounter any challenges when launching the platform? How did you overcome them if so?
Yeah, we encountered many challenges when launching TWOC. The biggest probably being the lack of belief that people around us had when we first opted to changed our brand from Mandem on The Wall to The Wall of Comedy.
Nothing at the time made sense, we had grown a brand for over five years and was about to make a change, get rid of everything we had worked for.
Deep down we knew it was the right choice because we had a lot of faith, passion and determination. Despite the amount of negativity we had around the decisions we were making, especially the people closest to us - we persevered.
Did you receive any support in terms of advice/funding when setting up Wall of Comedy?
We've never received funding for the Wall Of Comedy, which is why it has taken this long to grow into the business we are. We now work with certain brands enabling us to make money which is then invested back into the company.
In regards to receiving advice we initially started off blind; figuring out what to do alone and through trial and error.
Along the way after hiring an amazing group of people we began to no monetize via Facebook enabling us to keep growing and hiring more people, which now stands at 15 members of staff.
Throughout this journey we were put in touch with the founders at UNILAD whom later became our friends and began mentoring us in business. We now share an office and brand campaigns.
It has now been two years since the platform launched – just how much has it grown since then?
It has grown enormously since the beginning but our vision and the USP remains the same. We have made a conscience effort to fulfil our original idea whilst moving with the times and adjusting to what is current and wanted by our audience.
We continue to create original content with both well established and up and coming comedians and actors and have started 'The Wall Of Talent.' This new area allows us to find and nurture talent from the grassroots and create new exciting, current content with fresh talent people want to see.
Through engaging with our audience and analysing feedback we feel our platform should support our demographic by offering more areas that interest them but also raises awareness of important issues that might affect them such as tackling various taboo topics like mental health. Through years of development we have come to understand we can entertain and help our audience through 'The Wall'
What do you put this growth down to?
A clear vision of what we want to achieve and a strong understanding of what resonates with our audience. As long as we remain authentic, creative, innovative and challenging, I think our audience will continue to grow with us but hopefully we will continue to reach new and untapped audiences far and wide.
What has been your biggest achievement since launching the platform?
Fundamentally I'd say seeing our idea come to fruition and watching our team grow in all departments. I feel very proud to have found and had the chance to nurture some amazingly talented individuals. Ultimately, I'm most proud of becoming the 'home' to those who need it.
Not only do you have a successful business but you also help lots of others share their art. Which aspect of your business do you take the most pride in?
The aspect of our business we take most pride in is being able to be leaders in our space. Knowing that there was no comedy platform in the UK before we came along giving opportunity to young talent to expose their craft and gift to a wide audience. We are able to take everything we know from our own learnings and experiences and pass this to the generation coming through. Being able to help creators gain an audience, nurture their brand and see financial gain puts a massive smile on our faces every day and this is ultimately why we do what we do!
Looking forward, what are your plans for the future?
As well as growing our talent arm whereby we will continue to develop and represent some of those amazing and talented young people you see making online viral sketches and shows, we also have plans to develop more original shows and formats that people are going to find hilarious because we intend to add our own unique elements to them.
We are developing different aspects to The Wall of Comedy such as The Wall of Music which is now live and is a source of comedy mixed with current music trends / Insights and exclusive content. More sub-brands like this will be coming such as sport, fashion, gaming and food. Our vision is to eventually become the home of online urban entertainment.
We have so many things in the pipeline and move at such a fast pace, it’s hard for people to keep up!
Finally, if you could give three nuggets of advice to an aspiring entrepreneur, what would they be?
Try and get yourself around like-minded people, if you have an idea… it doesn’t mean anything. Execution is the key! Without allowing it to fully manifest it will always be an idea... and everyone has good ideas, what separates an entrepreneur from other people is the desire and aggressive work ethic that you apply to see your dream come to fruition.