New VideoBlocks CEO TJ Leonard

Six years after launching the subscription-based stock digital media destination VideoBlocks, founder and CEO Joel Holland is stepping into a new role as executive chairman, naming Chief Marketing Officer TJ Leonard the company's new CEO. As CMO, Holland said, Leonard led VideoBlocks to achieve several firsts for the company: the current archive of one million video clips; a total of $1,000,000 in commissions paid to contributors to the new VideoBlocks Marketplace since launching it last April; and growing the subscriber count to more than 130,000. The move will give Holland more flexibility to continue forging content and promotional partnerships like those he made with Discovery Communications, YouTube, Vimeo and BuzzFeed in 2015.

The transition "happened almost naturally," says Holland. "Last year, we had the best year in our history. The Marketplace, in particular, launched with much fanfare, and from launch to the end of December, we hit two huge milestones, which turned us into the fastest growing library by a long shot. People were not only bringing their stuff to sell it but they were also making money. But since we're not a nonprofit, our business model is to continue to boost subscriptions, and 20 percent of these new buyers who came to the Marketplace became new annual subscription members."  

Holland says most VideoBlocks subscribers are now annual members, the result of a change in marketing strategy implemented by Leonard. "Engagement and retention rates are infinitely higher among annual subscribers, and the scores that measure customer satisfaction are really through the roof," says Holland. "He's also, operationally, one of the best managers that I've ever worked with, so it was a very easy decision. I started spending less time in the office and more time on the road setting up partnerships. We wanted to make sure that everyone in the video production world knows that VideoBlocks is the place you start and the only place you have to go." VideoBlocks is running a promo for new Vimeo members, and is offering access to its content at YouTube spaces in New York, Los Angeles, London, Tokyo and elsewhere. 

Leonard, a graduate of MIT's Sloan School of Management, came to VideoBlocks from educational marketing two and half years ago. "We saw 50 percent more new members join us in the fourth quarter last year than any previous time in the company's history, which was really exciting," he says. "In terms of our core business and in terms of our partnerships, we saw some really exciting signs that if we had two people focused full time on both of these areas, we'd be able to accelerate our growth that much more. Now we both have the freedom to focus on the things we know will drive the company forward."