You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Fullscreen’s Rooster Teeth Seeks Wider Appeal for ‘First’ Rebranded Subscription VOD Service

Sci-fi and gaming entertainment company also debuts 'Double Gold' super-fan tier for $35 per month

Rooster Teeth, Fullscreen’s digital entertainment unit focused on sci-fi and gaming fans, has offered a subscription VOD service for 13 years — before there was even industry lingo to describe it.

Now, the Austin, Texas-based company is rebranding the $4.99-per-month service as “First,” part of its strategy to reach a bigger audience with more mainstream programming. And Rooster Teeth is also doubling down on hardcore fans with “First Double Gold,” a $34.99 monthly package that will include perks like VIP access to events like its RTX convention and a monthly mailing of merchandise (a la Birchbox).

Rooster Teeth will begin rolling out its initial First apps for game consoles and set-top boxes starting this fall, which will offer all of the same video content on the site and mobile app. The first Double Gold box will ship to subscribers Aug. 15, with a range of merch such as T-shirts, hats and stickers.

Currently, Rooster Teeth has about 130,000 paying subscribers (which it used to call “Sponsors”), more doubling the base over the past year. CEO Matt Hullum projects having more than 200,000 subs by the end of the year, as it continues to launch original series such as the recently released hour-long apocalyptic thriller “Day 5,” upcoming sci-fi comedy “Crunch Time” starring Nick Rutherford (“Good Neighbor”) and Samm Levine (“Freaks and Geeks,” “Inglorious Basterds”), new additions to the “RT Docs” documentary series, and the fall release of the fourth season of anime hit “RWBY” (pictured above).

“We realized this SVOD thing was bigger and broader, and we could take it to more people, wider beyond our core demographic,” said Hullum, who co-founded the company with creative director Burnie Burns in 2003. All told, Rooster Teeth is producing about 100 hours of original content per month, most of which is available exclusively to subscribers.

Fullscreen, owned by AT&T-Chernin Group’s Otter Media, acquired Rooster Teeth in November 2014. Rooster Teeth’s SVOD service dates back to 2003 when the site launched paid access to its hallmark “Red vs. Blue” sci-fi series.

“What we were doing started more of a fan club. It was the original way we made money,” Hullum said. “When we started ‘Red vs. Blue,’ it was a completely different world – you couldn’t even watch in a browser.”

Beginning July 1, Rooster Teeth’s existing subscribers and new subscribers will become First members. Membership costs $4.99 per month or $19.99 for six months recurring ($3.33 per month), and subscribers will get first access to ad-free videos and exclusive access to premium series, plus exclusive behind-the-scenes content, extended cuts, vlogs and live broadcasts, and a 5% discount on all Rooster Teeth merchandise.

First Double Gold membership costs $34.99 per month (or $179.99 for six months recurring), which adds the monthly subscription box of merchandise at (a $50-plus value, according to Rooster Teeth), along with a 10% discount on all Rooster Teeth merchandise, first access to live event VIP passes, member-only contests and giveaways and member-only Q&As.

To reel in more SVOD subscribers, Rooster Teeth is boosting its content output and delving into new formats. In addition to “Day 5” and “Crunch Time,” RT has launched new live broadcast series “Theater Mode” and “Heroes & Halfwits,” snarky animation series “Camp Camp,” and four new feature-length documentaries as part of RT Docs, including “World’s Greatest Head Massage” premiering July 8, in which Burnie Burns (CBS’s “The Amazing Race” season 28) and Gavin Free (“The Slow Mo Guys”) travel across the world in search of this tantalizing experience.

Rooster Teeth is also hoping to get some pickup from distribution on Ellation’s VRV, an SVOD bundle set to launch this fall, which will offer an a la carte menu of channels including Rooster Teeth, Crunchyroll, NBCUniversal’s Seeso, Nerdist Alpha, Geek & Sundry Alpha and Cartoon Hangover. Ellation, like Rooster Teeth, is owned by Otter Media.

Meanwhile, Rooster Teeth’s crowdfunded sci-fi movie “Lazer Team” is available only on YouTube Red right now. “We do look at it on a case-by-case basis” in terms of distribution strategies for original content, Hullum said. “We’re growing our own service with content we feel like in the short term will appeal directly to our base.”

The company’s sixth annual RTX convention, set to run July 1-3 at the the Austin Convention Center, JW Marriott and Hilton in downtown Austin, will feature a lineup of programming, exhibitors and special guests including 343 Industries showcasing “Halo Wars 2” and the new “Halo 5: Warzone Firefight” mode playable on the show floor, and a panel with Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey.

Overall, Rooster Teeth has more than 25 million subscribers to its YouTube channels, 3 million unique monthly visitors to its RoosterTeeth.com hub and 1.8 million registered community members.

More Digital

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content