Fullscreen ups its technology game with the Fullscreen Creator Platform, "mission control" for content creators
The competition among YouTube multi-channel networks (MCNs) has never been fiercer, as attention on the video platform increases and critics question the underlying business model, while several of the category leaders search for profitability amid all their massive scale. Fullscreen, whose more than 2.5 billion monthly video views place it among the category leaders, is turning to technology as a principal weapon in this fight.Fresh off a reported $30 million Series A financing in June, today the company is announcing the launch of its Fullscreen Creator Platform, which offers a Web and mobile platform for building and monetizing audience, in-depth channel analytics, earnings reporting, and community collaboration tools. Founder and CEO George Strompolos calls it “mission control” for Fullscreen creators and brands. The new platform will be available to all creators within the Fullscreen network free of charge.
Previous versions of Fullscreen’s technology platform focused solely on royalties management. But Strompolos says that he and his team noticed that creators were logging in daily and were regularly requesting additional features like native mobile access, audience development tools, competitive benchmarking, and social analytics – all of which are now available. The final product was the result of two-and-a-half-years worth of similar conversations since launching Fullscreen, in addition to the learnings from another eight years prior to that while Strompolos was was a Strategic Partner Development executive at Google and then YouTube.
“We see it as our job to stay on the cutting edge of software tools that can be delivered to creators,” Fullscreen’s CEO says.
A series of apps within the Fullscreen Creator Platform offer content creators additional flexibility and functionality depending on their specific needs. Scheduler, for example, provides insight into when is the best day and time to upload a video, and then enables the creator to preset publish times accordingly. FAM offers a library of licensed music, while Gorilla allows creators to increase revenue by participating in branded sponsorship campaigns.
For its brand and large media company clients, the Fullscreen Creator Platform offers copyright protection, Content ID, and asset management tools that would appear to compete with those offered by third-party SaaS software company ZEFR.
The MCN’s clients top NBCUniversal, Ryan Seacrest Productions, dubstep violinist Lindsey Stirling, and filmmaker Devin Super Tramp, among others. The company’s network includes over 15,000 channels with more than 200 million combined subscribers.
Fullscreen is fairly tight lipped when it comes to disclosing financial details or even personnel statistics. But the company does claim to be profitable, something that would make it stand out among other large MCNs like Maker Studios and Machinima. Profitability isn’t always the goal when companies are growing rapidly, but it’s a noteworthy milestone amid an industry that has faced its fair share of criticism for being fundamentally flawed and unsustainable from a business model sense.
Strompolos is counting on technology to combat these issues by attracting and retaining premium talent to the company’s platform, and also adding efficiency to its content distribution and monetization efforts. To the extent that it succeeds, both the company and its content creators should see the results in their bank accounts.
The jury is still out on whether it’s possible to build a large, sustainable business on YouTube alone. Most industry observers are predicting that the most successful digital content networks will be those with a multi-platform strategy that includes YouTube, primarily as a audience acquisition funnel, in conjunction with monetization via owned-and-operated or third party video-on-demand, cable, and satellite TV distribution platforms. Through its recent investment partnerships with Comcast and WPP Digital, the company took the first step in securing access to additional content distribution channels and a wealth of relationships in the brand advertising arena.
Strompolos has hinted at plans to move beyond the network model to begin producing additional premium original content, likely with an eye on these alternative distribution avenues. That said, content creation is an entirely different beast than that of an MCN and will introduce entirely new risks and demands on Strompolos and his team. Success in one area is in no way a predictor of similar results in the other.
Technology is one aspect of succeeding as a digital content network, and Fullscreen’s new offering is as good as there is available. But as well positioned as it appears within its category, Fullscreen still a long way to go before it can truly be considered a successor to the traditional media conglomerates.