Here comes a digital-entertainment upstart that pledges to put creators first. L.A.-based StreaMe is lining up hand-picked creators to be part of its streaming and content marketplace that will give full control — and, it promises, a generous cut of revenue — to its partners.
Slated to launch this fall, StreaMe hopes to have more than 300 publishers and content owners on the platform out of the gate. It’s already gotten buy-in from a few Hollywood creatives who plan to use StreaMe to distribute content: filmmakers Jim and Brian Kehoe, who co-wrote comedy “Blockers,” and actor-musician-producer-director Thomas Ian Nicholas (“American Pie,” “Living Among Us”).
According to JP Fatta, StreaMe’s founder and CEO, the company is looking for creator partners who already have a large fanbase and are looking for a better means of monetizing their content. StreaMe (streame.com) will share 60%-80% of the revenue generated by content on its platform to partners, depending on their size.
StreaMe’s challenge, of course, will be to attract an audience that will make the economics work — and persuade them to pay for stuff. New premium entertainment platforms with no brand history have found it tough to make headway, as the flameouts of players like Vessel, Fullscreen’s subscription VOD service, and NBC’s Seeso demonstrate.
“The way the current landscape exists now doesn’t work for everyone, so StreaMe was built to solve the inherent problems publishers face with retaining ownership and control of their content,” Fatta said.
Another key difference: StreaMe will be a kind of content “mall,” Fatta said, with related creators adjacent to one another. Publishers will be able to combine their content — of any type, including video, text, audio and images — into packages that are then built out into channels and networks, and content owners will have the option of syndicating their content up the hierarchy. StreaMe creators will be able to choose ad-supported, pay-per-view or subscription-based distribution.
“Content owners and creators can package and publish anything, and market, promote, distribute and monetize it all under one ecosystem,” Fatta said. “We don’t want to control their businesses.”
The privately held company is funded by Fatta and other individual investors. In addition to heading StreaMe, Fatta is founder and partner of Showpitch, digital-media platform for emerging talent to share their creative projects with industry execs. The serial entrepreneur has previously started marketing, medical technology and consulting businesses.
StreaMe also has tapped in an advisory capacity Xavier Kochhar, founder of the Video Genome Project, an entertainment metadata technology firm acquired by Hulu in 2016.
“I believe in JP’s vision in making structured data and personalization a priority—but to the degree that users deem appropriate, not third-party developers or the platform itself,” said Kochhar. “By democratizing these data and personalization tools from the get-go, StreaMe puts the power back where it belongs: in the hands of content creators and consumers themselves.”
Nicholas, who in addition to his film work also produces music with his band (the Thomas Nicholas Band), said he recently checked the stats on his YouTube channel where he posts music videos. “I have 250,000 video views, but I’ve never seen a dime,” he said. “I feel like there’s a lot of my content out there that’s getting views, and we’re all left in the dust. I click the monetize button and I never get a check.”
With StreaMe, Nicholas plans to post content including his early short film “The First Gig” and a feature film he wrote and starred in when he was 22 called “LA DJ: The Movie.”
“Now I can figure out how to monetize that content,” he said, adding that StreaMe’s strategy of selectively curating content is appealing: “Curation is lacking in the digital space.”
Meanwhile, Jim Kehoe said he was attracted by StreaMe’s mission of empowering and compensating creators “rather than simply exploiting material.” “Unlike other existing distribution platforms, StreaMe recognizes distribution is only one piece of the pie,” he said. “It’s an all-encompassing solution that really puts the creator in the driver’s seat. A single platform that allows a creator to do everything from end-to-end is incredibly powerful and greatly needed.”
The startup’s ambition is to become the home for direct-to-consumer content channels, programmed by talent and media partners, that will provide a way for fans to discover high-quality entertainment. “Hopefully we’ll be like IMDb, where people can search for and find content based on filmmaker or actor,” said StreaMe CTO Alejandro Zalles.
StreaMe, based in West Hollywood, has about 15 full-time employees, Fatta said.