If you’re not running a multi-million dollar celebrity campaign it’s hard to get crowdsourced funding for a video project. That's what nearly 17,000 video entrepreneurs have learned first-hand with Kickstarter campaigns at the time of this writing. Proving traditional crowdfunding platforms aren't necessarily ideal for all funding projects.
In fact, over $24 million in film and video project pledges were made to unsuccessful Kickstarter projects to date. Different projects have different needs, and Producing high quality programming is not cheap. Additionally, the very nature of video project capital outlay is different than other project funding. YouTube video production requires ongoing support more than a one off campaign.
Crowdfunding start-up TubeStart offers a subscription based crowdfunding model specifically for YouTube creators. I interviewed the company's founder and CEO, Josef Holm. "We thought YouTube’s one billion users and their one million content creators deserved a crowdfunding platform that caters to their needs," Holm asserts.
TubeStart was designed to allow supporters to set up a monthly recurring campaign in exchange for exclusive reward content or other perks. "This allows YouTube creators to build a paid, off-YouTube, monthly recurring member base to offset ongoing production costs," Holm continues. "It's much more sustainable for video entrepreneurs than running a one off campaign."
It's all about better exposure and higher returns according to Holm and the folks at TubeStart. The platform offers fixed and flexible "Reward Based crowdfunding," where creators run short-term campaigns (30-60 days) to raise capital. As it's described, these flexible campaigns allow filmmakers to keep their pledges regardless if their campaign reaches its ultimate goal or not – as long as a tipping point is reached. Whereas fixed funding campaigns, the model made popular by Indiegogo and others, only payout if the funding goal is reached or exceeded.
With the TubeStart model, supporters are rewarded with a variety of perks, depending on their donation amount. Things like autographed DVDs, early viewing rights, even producer credit attribution. In a recent campaign, for example, $50 will earn you a 30-minute Skype call with the video team.
TubeStart is set to be open and available to video creators in the U.S. and Canada, as well as Europe. "We talked to many YouTube creators and found out what their crowdfunding needs are, and what features they wanted," Holm recalls. Video creators wanted flexibility, and TubeStart delivered it. Creators can conduct conventional crowdfunding campaigns between $500 and $500,000, or develop a subscription-based campaign with supporters paying between $5 and $150 monthly.
Still young, TubeStart's project selection is sparse. In between reality TV-like projects and comedy groups was a particularly interesting project I came across in the platform's library. "The Real Pursuit of Happiness" is a documentary on homelessness that aims to fight the homeless epidemic by offering direct outreach to the homeless community. The project plans to expose the reality that many afflicted do not choose a life of homelessness, and striving for an opportunity to get off of the streets.