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Tubestart Funding Platform Is a Kickstarter for Online Video

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[Note: This sponsored interview was recorded at Streaming Media West 2013.] 

Tubestart was one of the new faces making the rounds at the recent Streaming Media West conference in Huntington Beach, California, introducing content creators to an online funding platform made just for them. Rather than getting buried on Kickstarter, video makers can now turn to Tubestart, instead. Tubestart's chief operating officer, Claude Shires, sat down for a red carpet interview to let people know what sets Tubestart apart.

"Tubestart is a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter but for online video or YouTube channels," Shires said. "We’re basically like Kickstarter except that we have one category as opposed to having like 28 categories and one funding model. Indiegogo, for example, has a flexible funding model. Kickstarter has an all-or-nothing funding model where you raise funds and you only keep the funds if you hit that specific funding amount. So what we did was we combined with the best funding models from those two platforms, introduced a new subscription-based crowdfunding model which basically helps you offset your production expenses every month and only one category, online video and YouTube channels."

Does Tubestart offer the same fun of Kickstarter, such as premiums and perks for various levels of sponsorship? It sure does.

"We’re a rewards-based platform at this time, which means we give perks or rewards, non-financial returns -- hats, baseball caps, shirts," Shires explained. "I think one of the things that makes us so different specifically is that we help online video creators develop perks that make sense in that market. So, for example, you could do the basic one like an associate producer credit, but you could also do specific exclusive online content behind the scenes."

To hear more about Tubestart, including its partnership with Fullscreen, watch the video below.

 

Troy Dreier: Hi. I’m coming to you from Steaming Media West 2013 on the Red Carpet and I’m talking to Claude Shires, the chief operating officer of a new company called Tubestart. Claude, why don’t you tell me what Tubestart is?

Claude Shires: Tubestart is a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter but for online video or YouTube channels. So we’re basically like Kickstarter except that we basically have one category as opposed to having 20 categories in one funding model. Indiegogo, for example, has a flexible funding model. Kickstarter has an all or nothing funding model where you raise funds and you only keep the funds if you hit that specific funding amount. So what we did was we combined with the best funding models from those two platforms, introduced a new subscription based crowdfunding model which basically helps you offset your production expenses every month and only one category, online video and YouTube channels.

Troy Dreier: Are there some other ways that you’re different from other crowdfunding platforms?

Claude Shires: Well, I think the fact that the Kickstarter has 18 categories, I believe. Indiegogo has 12. So oftentimes, video creators get lost in the shuffle between the cheese grater and the iPhone case or a shoe. So what we’ve done is combined those best funding models. We offer the same one at flexible funding, all or nothing, and then we introduce the subscription based model. So we only have one category and let the creator pick the funding model that best suits their needs.

Troy Dreier: Now who goes to Tubestart? Is the small producer working out of their bedroom or is big companies? Who needs your help?

Claude Shires: Well, it could virtually anybody. Anybody that’s looking to offset their own expenses, whether it’s casting, production, catering, whatever it is, as long as it basically applies to online video creation and there’s few and far between anymore. Everybody’s online in some form. So what we really see is independent producers, people that are doing the web series. Anybody that wants to fund or start a production company, for example can reach out and develop their audience and their crowd and fund that crowd directly. So, for example, on YouTube, if you’re using the AdSense model on YouTube channels, 45 percent of your money goes directly to YouTube, and then if you’re with MCN, 20 cents on the dollar. It’s 65 cents of every dollar is going to somebody else. So what we do is help fill in that gap. It’s a complementary financing stream.

Troy Dreier: Now when people plan a Tubestart campaign, do they offer levels of subscriptions and offer prizes for people who helped them at different levels like they do with the other platforms?

Claude Shires: Yes. Absolutely. I mean we’re a rewards based platform at this time, which means we give perks or rewards, non-financial returns, hats, baseball caps, shirts. I think one of the things that makes us so different specifically is that we help online video creators develop perks that make sense in that market. So, for example, you could do the basic one like an associate producer creditor but you could also do specific exclusive online content behind the scenes. All that footage, an episode of your web series a week early and then we can provide all that stuff, list it privately on YouTube and unlocked with a code on our platform. That’s just one of the advantages that we offer. Plus we’re big on hands on. I mean crowdfunding is not for the weak. It’s a really difficult process. We just did our own campaign for our YouTube channel, which is the largest individual collection of standup comedy that’s basically cut five years of content into 90 second bits so you don’t get locked into a bad comic. You can just basically pick the demographic that matches your funny bone, and in that process we found that there was a huge deficit. I mean we spent a lot of money on this channel and we realized an epic problem is really just an epic opportunity, and that’s where Tubestart was really born. So we do offer all the same perks and rewards as Kickstarter, Indiegogo. Just more custom-tailored for the online video market.

Troy Dreier: Can you tell me about some more great video content that is seeing the video thanks to campaigns on Tubestart?

Claude Shires: Absolutely. Well today, actually, we announced our-- we have a partnership with Fullscreen, which is the second largest. They might even be the largest multichannel network on YouTube and we beat out Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and Patreon for that title. So we are the exclusive crowdfunding platform for all 28,000 of their creators. So I think you’re going to be seeing a lot of content generating. We’ve already got 20 more campaigns today since we announced that partnership. So I think we’re going to be seeing a lot of really, really great content. And here’s the thing, ultimately we envision a future that you would see a one-to-one relationship between content creator and consumer so people can start backing the content that they love. YouTube is prolific in a lot of ways, one of which is the democratization of the audience because TV’s been a one-way internet for a long time pushing information in one direction. Now everybody has access to that same audience, and that’s what we’re really looking forward to building.

Troy Dreier: So that’s a good opportunity to ask you where is crowdfunding going in the future?

Claude Shires: Well, there’s a lot of speculation. The interesting thing that just happened was Title 3 of the Jobs Act just passed. I don’t know how familiar you are with that but basically, it opens the ability for the unaccredited investor to go out and crowdfund for financial return. So right now we crowdfund. You can get hats, baseball caps, shirts and people are happy to do that, family and friends, to give you money for something. What if they had an investment in you? What if they had an opportunity to gain financial return, be part of your web series which could turn into a TV show or your pitch video which could turn into a feature film, and I think people will ultimately be more apt to back those type of projects knowing that there’s a financial return. I mean look at Veronica Mars, five million. Look at your Zack Braff, $3 million. I think as we see more successes with the democratization of the ability to get funding, we’re going to see a lot more successes out there and it really levels the playing field for the creator.

Troy Dreier: So a show could sell a portion of its future, sell a stake in its future?

Claude Shires: Or its ad revenue.

Troy Dreier: When we will start to see that happen?

Claude Shires: Well, we’re in the 90 day comment period right now in Title 3, so I would say after that period the SEC is gonna take some of those comments into their ruling and then it could be-- I mean look, it passed a year early. We weren’t expecting this until quarter three or four of 2014 and they just passed it. So as soon as they make that ruling, I think it’s going to be wide open.

Troy Dreier: So then once it happens, then we all go to Tubestart and we start looking for the next online video hit that we want to buy into and back.

Claude Shires: Absolutely. I think, and you’re going to see this across the board, it’s not just for online video channels. It’s gonna be all over the place but we’re really looking forward to it. We’re really excited with our partners at Fullscreen and it’s just going to be a bright future.

Troy Dreier: Very good. We’re coming to you from Streaming Media West. This is Troy Dreier on the Red Carpet.

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