When UK publisher LADbible acquired UNILAD in October 2018, the merger of the two entities catapulted The LADbible Group to the 4th most viewed global Media and Entertainment property in the world, just behind Warner Media, Brave Bison, and The Walt Disney Company.
Although the various UNILAD properties remain separate entities across the main social video platforms, our exclusive data confirms that the merging of the company into the LADbible family resulted in 4.3B total video views across all UNILAD and LADbible properties in October. Those numbers push The LADbible Group into the 2nd most-viewed media property in the UK, and puts the news publisher firmly in the spotlight as a force to be reckoned with in the current media landscape. By combining the audiences of LADbible and UNILAD, The LADbible Group has created a social video powerhouse with global scale.
Social Video: The New Publisher Landscape
Although The LADbible Group bought UNILAD after the company went into liquidation, it’s a model example of the audience growth by acquisition model which has been active in the media and broadcast industries for ever. While Disney buying out 20th Century Fox for 73B, & Viacom bringing AwesomenessTV onboard made headline news across the globe, what makes the merger of LADbible and UNILAD so unique is the fusion of two digital-first companies who not only grew up in the space together, but defined that space in their vertical. Both were competing for (initially) the same young male-focused audience across Facebook (‘lad’ is UK speak for ‘bro’), the target demographic of the majority of content by both publishers in the early days of Facebook video.
In the battle for views and engagement for the top Facebook video creators, Manchester and London based UNILAD and LADbible have been neck and neck over the past two years, jockeying for position for the number one and two spots for the most viewed global publishers on Facebook
In August 2018, UNILAD was the top publisher on Facebook with 1.5B views, with LADbible coming in a strong second with 1.4B video views. Post-acquisition, The LADbible Group can claim a combined 2.73B views across the platform, just 157K views short of the top spot.
With a newly combined 120M followers across all of their social channels, the merging of the publishers is a powerful step forward in the evolution of both audience growth and content strategy across social video. As the company names suggest, both properties originally evolved around providing licensed content around comedy or viral clips for a younger male audience (mirroring now defunct ‘lad mags’ like ‘Nuts’ or ‘Zoo’), but in the past few years both UNILAD and LADbible have ventured out into the world of original content that covers a multitude of topics, and partnered with a number of brands to reach a young audience with that all-important disposable income.
So far in 2018, UNILAD and LADbible have worked with 146 brands on sponsored video content. On Facebook alone, that content has generated 243M views across both publisher’s many vertical properties for brands like Cadbury, KFC, Hasbro, Oreo, and PayPal.
The publishing strategy of many digital-first properties is to diversify into a range of verticals intended to inform, as well as entertain, the audience via the News Feed. It’s a challenge that faces a huge number of publishers in the space, and as the competition for eyeballs and ad dollars grows ever more fierce, the race is on to build a brand that can be monetized to support the core business model.
UNILAD, LADbible: Top Video Content
So what type of video content has made both UNILAD and LADbible so popular? We took and a look at the uploads to Facebook for both in the last 365 days to confirm the top content for each.
Since November 2017, LADbible has generated 23.5B views and 514M engagements on its 11.7K video uploads to Facebook. The most popular video published in the last year is this always entertaining clip of a thrilled cat being wrapped up for Christmas which attracted 94.2M views and 2.4M likes, shares, and comments.
Over at UNILAD, 23K video uploads to Facebook have generated 31.6B views and 722M engagements in the last 365 days. The most viewed video being this epic bowling fail which attracted 157M views and 2.8M comments, likes, and shares.