Recently I had an opportunity to interview Jeff Jankowski the CEO and President of hoopla Digital. So what is hoopla digital? hoopla digital teams up with local libraries to offer free streaming for members of more than 1,600 public library systems across North America. Public libraries are a great resource for cord cutters—not only for free DVD rentals but now also for streaming. The best part is they now have apps on devices like Roku and the Apple TV.
Recently hoopla has been expanding their device support and added a ton of new content making it a great option for cord cutting. Here is our interview with Jeff Jankowski.
Luke: hoopla recently celebrated its 5 year anniversary. How did hoopla digital start and what did you hope to address by launching hoopla digital?
Jeff: Our exclusive focus on serving public libraries, along with a commitment to continual innovation, is what led to the creation of hoopla digital, our digital media service of Midwest Tape. We launched hoopla in the spring of 2013. Together, Midwest Tape and hoopla are fueling a library media evolution – dynamic new library content and expanded ways to access it and enjoy it. Our purpose has always been to partner with libraries to deliver the best content to patrons in the most streamlined manner possible. Through the years, we’ve cultivated a growing passion for the evolving public library. Offering a digital service to our library customers through hoopla digital was an important direction to take, staying in line with evolving technology and the popularity of accessing content online and on digital devices.
Luke: I see hoopla digital offers 60,000+ audiobooks. What should I expect to find here? Are these books I would know? Self-help books?
Jeff: We’ve made a significant investment in our audiobook offering. hoopla now has a broad assortment of audiobooks from over 300 unique and well-known publishers, including HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Macmillan. We also offer a wide assortment of genres from children’s publishers such as Scholastic and Weston Woods, to faith-based titles from Oasis and Thomas Nelson and yes, self-help is a strong category for us. What’s also unique about hoopla is that we offer a growing number of collections, such as over 500 Spanish language titles as well as a broad collection of language learning. The depth and breadth of our collection is something where we’ll continue to invest, but what you’ll also find with hoopla is a tremendous degree of flexibility as to where listeners can engage with titles on hoopla. It’s a seamless listening experience from your mobile phone, to your car, to your Alexa smart speaker while at home at end of the day.
Luke: I’ve noticed a lot of new eBooks and audiobooks on Hoopla. Can you talk about your investment in this content and the response from libraries and their patrons?
Jeff: With so many content options available to consumers, we take our role of developing the best possible assortment of titles on hoopla very seriously. With over 750,000 unique titles available on hoopla, we’ve become a powerful platform for books and other published works but we’ve only scratched the surface. Our content development and acquisition teams are constantly seeking fresh and unique offerings that are aimed at delighting both our libraries and their patrons. Our goal is to create an environment where patrons can engage with their library in a deeper way by experimenting and discovering new authors and genres that perhaps they’ve been reluctant to try before or had difficulty finding elsewhere. I want to especially note our investment in areas like STEAM education. hoopla is now home to the largest and most diverse collection of STEAM content from a library digital service with titles for early learners, teens, and adults, including the New York Times Looking Forward series, Disney’s Coding Adventure series, and The Great Courses.
Luke: If someone wants to get hoopla digital added to their local library what can they do?
Jeff: They should speak with their local library. Your librarian can contact hoopla directly to learn more about Hoopla digital and the various ways it can improve and maximize the library patron experience. They can connect with us on social media too – hoopla is on Facebook and Twitter.
Luke: What are you doing to expand your catalog of books, movies, and TV shows?
Jeff: We’re adding an average of 10,000 titles each month to hoopla across all categories and we have some major deals in the works. This includes working with over 3,000 publishing houses and hundreds of video and other digital providers. We’re constantly looking for great titles to add to our catalog and working with our existing content providers for unique and fresh titles.
Luke: What impact has Hoopla digital had on local libraries?
Jeff: First, we’ve been a good partner. That is most important to us. hoopla partners with libraries to offer a service that often exceeds what patrons might experience in the digital space outside of the library. Offering a wide range of engaging content and creating an outstanding patron experience is a key part of our strategy because it’s a key part of our libraries’ missions to serve their communities. We’re proud to be able to provide libraries with such a large offering of high-quality content combined with an easy to use patron experience.
Luke: How would someone sign up for hoopla digital?
Jeff: It’s easy to sign up and start using hoopla. All you need is a valid library card with one of hoopla’s affiliated libraries. You can find out if your library is partnered with hoopla on our website. All you need is an email and a password and you can start accessing content right away. To access hoopla, you can either download the app or use the service on your PC.
Here is a review we did of hoopla Digital:
Did you know we now have a FREE app for iOS, Android, and Amazon Fire? Click HERE to download our app.