What started out as an idea while we were at university has today become one of the largest publishing groups in the world, spanning an audience of billions. We have built an incredibly loyal community and have since branched out into multiple brands and social platforms, which along with our content, has evolved and continues to engage and inspire young people across the globe.
We initially developed the idea for a social media publishing business whilst studying business management at Leeds University and, after recognising the huge potential the business had, Arian Kalantari joined the Company as COO and Co-Founder, to help take the Company to the next level. When Facebook was at its inception it had a really engaged young audience, so when we were just 21, we saw this opportunity and LBG Media started in 2012.
Back when we started LBG Media we couldn’t have imagined that it would become the world’s all-time most viewed and engaged publisher on Facebook. We have stayed true to our founding values whilst continuing to expand our reach and we are now the biggest publisher on TikTok with 27.2 million followers.
When we started the business, we were witnessing a massive shift from traditional media to social and online media.
The two of us spotted this opportunity and wanted to provide content, news and entertainment for young people just like us.
Young people stopped relying on traditional media sources, spending more time on their mobile phones and laptops, and were looking for easily accessible entertainment. This led to the creation of LADbible.
It was clear from very early on that there was a gap in the market for a digital-first, youth publisher that could provide insightful and engaging content.
Right from the start we saw huge traction and audience growth which meant that we were reaching highly sought-after audiences and this was a valuable proposition to prospective partners.
We were leading the charge with how to navigate the ever-changing landscape of social and digital media – something that more traditional media businesses couldn’t do. Companies spotted this and saw us as a trusted partner to help them engage with the youth audience.
We constantly adapted to new trends and social media platforms as we had the data to understand what young people were interested in and could leverage this for our partners. This led to consistent revenue growth as our constant engagement with our community and insight into what excited them became increasingly attractive to a broad range of companies. We know what our audience wants and how to deliver it to them, this is a hugely valuable proposition for companies looking to target the notoriously difficult to reach youth market.
We have a clear mission statement that defines everything we do: ‘to give the youth generation a voice by building communities that laugh, think and act.’
This purpose underscores everything we do and is a big part of the success we have seen to date.
Our people are at the heart of everything we do – both our internal team and our audience. The entire team believes in, and are behind, LBG’s mission. They can see the real-life impact of their work instantly, whether that’s raising money, raising awareness around important topics or putting a smile on people’s faces.
We have a passionate, entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative culture built by people from a diverse set of backgrounds, ages and expertise. There are endless opportunities to enrich our culture via community groups such as LBGTQIA+ allies and internal fundraisers. We are always open to ideas, and we encourage everyone to share their ideas for what LBG’s future could look like.
Today we’re a global business nearing 500 people and four international offices, but our culture remains wherever we are. We are proud to have key individuals that have helped us grow the business and have been on board from the start, going on to set up and build our international offices.
A LAD is an everyday hero who takes a positive and constructive role in their community.
We look to champion a variety of people, from both celebrities and our audience, and bring them all onto the same stage.
An everyday hero is an inspiring person, and as a brand, we champion the everyday heroes that make up our LADs. This could be someone that can make a group of people laugh, or someone that has done something inspirational or courageous. Via our content such as our editorial series Daily LADness we were the first social publisher to feature Captain Sir Tom Moore’s story, we launched an interview with Inbetweeners star Emily Atack who bravely spoke out about online sexual harassment, and our LAD of the Year was awarded to Folajimi Olubunmi-Adewole, a young man who tragically lost his life aged just 20 this year after jumping into the River Thames to help save a woman. These are the type of people that make up the term LAD.
Over the decades the term LAD has evolved. It’s now very much gender neutral. In fact, our audience is split 59/41 between men and women.
In 2021 we saw a significant increase in followers across our brand portfolio, taking us to 217 million followers worldwide. This presents a big opportunity for continued growth which remains our priority.
We want to build further depth into our brands and explore new passion points that are currently underserved. There is a real opportunity to drive engagement across our brands; we have seen that when we invest further in our brands, such as our recent investment in FOODbible, we see significant growth in audience engagement.
We see a real opportunity to explore new territories to expand the brand, such as monetising our considerable US audience. There is further scope to expand our capabilities and offering to clients and audiences alike, for example virtual and augmented reality through our LADx platform.
This all alongside building on the purpose of our brand and creating important and entertaining content.
We want to continue to be the largest youth publisher in the world. As with everything in this space it is all about being nimble and innovative, fortunately this has been at the core of LBG Media from the start.
We want to continue to grow our brands in multiple territories, both organically and via acquisitions and remain at the cutting edge of content, cultural moments and technology.
LBG Media has considerable scope for further growth, and we are incredibly excited by the prospects for the Group. We are sure that LBG Media will be a bigger and better business in five years’ time whilst remaining true to our core purpose and mission.
We have launched a variety of social good campaigns including Trash Isles and Blood Without Bias.
Alongside this our content continues to be a force for good such as our Minutes With series to uncover untold stories, and ongoing projects like UOKM8?, our mental health awareness series.
Fundraising is a key part of what we do, and we are working with a number of charities such as British Asian Trust and Oxygen Appeal. Our nimble and digital first approach allows us to react quickly to events, as well as providing powerful content like our recent Lens on Ukraine documentary series.
Firstly, our unrivalled audience engagement and size and this is very much two-way engagement. This is something that is very hard to replicate, especially on more established social platforms where building new audiences is extremely difficult.
We have unique relationships with social platforms, clients, and audiences. We are trusted by them because of our track record and are acknowledged as a leader in our industry.
In addition, our data insights, intelligence and planning capabilities, for example the launch of LADnation, our youth panel, allows us to stay relevant and at the forefront of emerging trends. These insights are incredibly valuable to our partners.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the talent we have within the business is what really sets us apart. We have an incredible team that is always innovating, and they remain at the core of our success.