Rooster Teeth, a digital entertainment studio that predates YouTube, has at long last entered the mobile era.
The sci-fi/gaming-oriented studio, acquired last year by multichannel network Fullscreen, launched video apps for Apple iOS and Google’s Android devices Thursday. That comes more than a decade after Austin, Texas-based Rooster Teeth got started in 2003, when it began offering episodes of animated first-person-shooter spoof “Red vs. Blue.”
The goal: to drive up subscriptions to Rooster Teeth’s premium service, priced at $4.99 per month or $15.99 for six months, by using the apps as a service to launch exclusive content.
Content available only to subscribers (which Rooster Teeth calls “sponsors”) is set to include “Let’s Play Live: The Documentary,” to premiere Sept. 14, about the company’s Achievement Hunter division launching its first live online-gaming event; and weekly talk show “Rooster Teeth Entertainment System,” starring Colton Dunn (“Lazer Team,” “Key and Peele,” NBC’s “Superstore”), slated to premiere Sept. 27.
“The apps are about expanding the subscription service – nowadays people call it ‘SVOD,'” said CEO Matt Hullum (pictured above right, with creative director Burnie Burns). “We’re going to be putting some excellent, premium content on there.”
What took so long for Rooster Teeth to create mobile apps? Largely it’s because the company, through most of its history, has been a small indie shop focused on content, not apps development. With Fullscreen, majority owned by AT&T and Chernin Group’s Otter Media, Rooster Teeth finally is able to undertake projects “we’ve wanted to do but didn’t have the resources,” Hullum explained.
Rooster Teeth’s subscribers, in addition to new content available only behind the paywall, have access to all content the studio produces 24 hours before it goes to YouTube and other ad-supported platforms.
Along with the apps, Rooster Teeth is gearing up to launch “Lazer Team,” a feature-length movie that is the studio’s first live-action project. The sci-fi action-comedy is set to premiere the opening night of Alamo Drafthouse Cinema’s Fantastic Fest in Austin, Thursday, Sept. 24. Rooster Teeth still has not revealed subsequent distribution plans for the film, which broke Indiegogo’s crowdfunding record with $2.48 million in fan contributions. At some point, “Lazer Team” will be available to subscribers online and in the new apps, Hullum noted.
Rooster Teeth execs declined to disclose how many paying subs they have. On YouTube, the network has more than 19 million subscribers with more than 5 billion views to date; meanwhile, the company says RoosterTeeth.com has 3 million unique monthly visitors and 1.8 million registered members.