Fullscreen is promising digital stars new ways to make money from their legions of devoted followers with the acquisition of fan-engagement startup StageBloc.
Chicago-based StageBloc, launched in 2013, runs the websites, digital marketing and ecommmerce back-end operations for musical acts including Metallica, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, Keith Urban, R5 and Kid Rock.
With the acquisition, Fullscreen will rename StageBloc “Fullscreen Direct.” The new system will let digital creators engage with fans through email, exclusive content, discussions and experiences, and let them sell tickets and digital and physical merchandise.
“We’re putting creators in control of their own brands,” said Beau Bryant, Fullscreen’s senior VP of talent and programming. “Today’s creators reach millions of fans across disparate platforms, and this direct-to-consumer approach is the future of the creator business.”
StageBloc co-founders Tom Giles, Josh Holat and JD Hartley will remain with Fullscreen, with the 18-employee group operating out of Fullscreen’s Chicago offices. StageBloc says it manages about 10,000 accounts. “Our products will offer Fullscreen creators — and artists at large — a simple and straightforward experience to cultivate their brands through media that they get to own and operate,” Giles said in a statement.
Bryant didn’t indicate which Fullscreen stars might adopt the new Fullscreen Direct platform. The company’s network of 75,000 creators includes Grace Helbig, the Fine Bros., filmmaker Devin SuperTramp, Andrea Russett and Jack and Jack.
“At first, the way we have it designed, it’s for creators and artists that have more traction,” Bryant said. “It’s to move your hardcore fanbase to a destination, and drive higher ARPU (average revenue per unit) from those fans” from merchandise, content and ticket sales.
Fullscreen evaluated more than 20 companies in the direct-to-fan tech space before deciding to acquire StageBloc, according to Bryant.
The StageBloc technology will be integrated with Fullscreen’s proprietary technology and services infrastructure, the Creator Platform. Down the line, Fullscreen Direct will add enhancements to proprietary and third-party apps, tools and services for creators to share with consumers.
Data and analytics are a key piece of StageBloc, as well, Bryant said, letting creators manage direct-to-fan relationships and marketing through email, social media and apps on the web and mobile platforms. Fullscreen will primarily have a revenue-sharing model for creators that use Fullscreen Direct, taking a cut of sales generated through the platform.
Fullscreen is owned by Otter Media, the joint venture of AT&T and the Chernin Group.
Pictured above: Metallica performs at the U.K.’s Reading Festival in August 2015