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YouTube video production meets crowdfunding

YouTube video production meets crowdfunding

Posting in Finance

TubeStart helps budding artists gain exposure without going broke.

Photo: Flickr/Damien du Toit

Crowdfunding has become a viable way for budding entrepreneurs to jumpstart a project, charity or the like. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, GoFundme and Crowdrise are just a few of the many services that use the power of the people (and their pockets) to help smaller businesses and causes succeed.

Other people, mostly musical or visual artists, however, are harnessing YouTube to share their work with the world. With more than 1 billion visitors a month and some significant success stories to date (ever hear of Justin Bieber?) YouTube seems a natural place to showcase talent on a shoestring budget. But what if you want to make a living off your talent and aren't banking on Usher being shown your videos (which helped Bieber get his break)? Or you're less than excited about traditional funding routes like bank loans or courting investors?

That was the question that inspired Josef Holm, founder and CEO of TubeStart, a new crowdfunding platform specifically focused on supporting YouTube creators.

"If you don't have the money, it's really hard to get traction," Holm says. "I had the idea to build a platform like Kickstarter and start a campaign to access an audience. "

TubeStart merges video publishing with crowdfunding to change the way video content is financed and monetized. Mostly it is aimed at supporting YouTube creators putting out weekly shorts -- whether it's drama, music or comedy. It is meant for those who are just getting their feet wet, or for those who are trying to make the shift from an amateur to a professional.

TubeStart's subscription model lets content creators run campaigns that give their audiences continued access to exclusive content, in exchange for paying a monthly fee via the platform.

However, the model still allows creators to keep all core content available to the public. That means artists can still leverage Google's AdSense services, a revenue generation model that pays page owners for visitor traffic based on views. It takes about 1 million views for a video to earn about $2,000.

"Traditional crowdfunding like Kickstarter where you make a large amount of money in a short amount of time, is not practical for YouTube creators," Holm says, "because video production is ongoing. With TubeStart you have complete control and access to the platform that helps you fund the continued production of your content."

It is free to set up a campaign but like most crowdfunding sites, TubeStart takes a cut of the funding that you raise -- in this case, 5 percent. It's simple to get started. The creator visits the Web site, sets up the campaign and optimizes their campaign page with a TubeStart manager. Once the campaign goes live, it's up to the artist to mobilize his or her audience. Unlike Kickstarter, TubeStart doesn't curate projects, but it does follow YouTube's terms and conditions to maintain the same level of quality control.

"If you're in digital content, YouTube is the perfect discovery platform," Holm says. "People have switched from YouTube sensations to international stars. TubeStart is enabling content creators to follow in their footsteps."

TubeStart officially launches Aug. 20 with a goal of 50 campaigns, but preregistration is already open with 15 campaigns in the works.

Image credit: Flickr/Damien du Toit

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Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure