On the advertising side, Wikia's revenue split has shifted from about 90% indirect and 10% direct-sold a few years ago, to 40% indirect and 60% direct-sold today. Movie and TV advertisers came first, but Wikia has also attracted brands that like its youthful audience, such as Taco Bell.
While programmatic banners appear on its encyclopedia pages, Wikia has restricted Fandom to custom, native programs, including sponsored quizzes that test a fan’s knowledge of a topic.
Next up, Wikia aims to harness fans' knowledge and passion about certain entertainment franchises on behalf of its “Fan Studio” program.
As Warner Brothers prepared to release a video game, “Shadow of Mordor,” it worried about the fact that it took place with new characters and during a time between “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings.” Would Tolkien fans find the game inauthentic?
Wikia helped Warner Brothers harness fan feedback about the game and then develop early support for “Shadow of Mordor” through Fan Studio. The program is part influencer marketing and part focus group, with Wikia designing flexible programs depending on a marketer’s needs.
As Wikia develops its new tentpole site, Fandom, it plans to capitalize on the cultural rise of geeks and fan boys.
“That guy who put on the Darth Vader suit used to be the weird kid in Mom’s basement,” Palmer said. “The pop culture nerd wasn’t accepted before.”