A new startup is aiming to turn TikTok and YouTube stars into feature-length filmmakers, the latest in a broad push by platforms to invest in Internet-based content — and those who generate it.
Creator+ offers a new economic model that features a vertically integrated studio that manages the entire filmmaking process for creators — from financing and production to marketing and distribution. The startup recently raised $12 million in a funding round, and plans help content creators share revenue, data and intellectual property ownership.
"We believe that creators can be phenomenal filmmakers and storytellers...and we know that these top creators are resonating with large and engaged audiences," Jonathan Shambroom, Creator+ co-founder and CEO, told Yahoo Finance during a recent interview.
Finished projects will stream on the Creator+ platform for a small fee (similar to the price of a movie ticket), with revenues split 50/50 between creators and the company. The platform is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2022.
The unique model allows the opportunity for creators to own their own intellectual property, and develop a stronger, more informed relationship with their fanbase.
"We treat creators as equal partners," Shambroom said, explaining how the company's principles differentiate it from competitors.
"It's a different opportunity with different economics for creators, and they get to stay in the driver's seat creatively," he continued, noting that other platforms have "high barriers to entry" and typically lack audience insights.
Furthermore, the streaming side of the business "crafts a new [audience] experience that's immersive and combines community, content and commerce" all in one place, he added.
The studio's first project — a psychological thriller titled "Jane" — will star "Riverdale's" Madelaine Petsch, who will also serve as producer.
Ca$hing in on creator economy
The creator economy continues to grow in popularity with an estimated market cap of $200 billion. Currently, there are more than 500 YouTubers with over 10 million subscribers.
“We want to build the best platforms for millions of creators to make a living, so we’re creating new programs to invest over $1 billion to reward creators for great content they create on Facebook and Instagram through 2022,” the CEO wrote in a Facebook post. “Investing in creators isn’t new for us, but I’m excited to expand this work over time.”
The move follows other platforms that have also doubled down on investing in the creator economy. TikTok, which first launched its creator fund last July, has increased its pledge from $200 million to a whopping $2 billion to support creators over three years.
Spotify (SPOT) and Snapchat (SNAP) have also committed to funding creators with the latter disclosing that it has paid out more than $130 million to 5,400 creators since launching its Spotlight feature in November 2020.
Spotify has yet to share an exact number when it comes to its own funding pledge.
Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193