VidCon 2016: Zype makes its case to creators looking to grow their audience and earnings

zype vidcon

YouTube, Vine, and Instagram are among the best places for creators to quickly grow their audience, but they are not necessarily the best places to monetize that following and they are certainly not the only places.

Enter Zype, which came onto the scene late last year offering a turnkey solution for creators to easily publish their content across a range of OTT platforms – including Roku and Apple TV – and monetize across these platforms.

Zype has competition in the space, but has attempted to differentiate itself by operating on a SaaS model (rather than a revenue sharing, model) and giving creators and publishers the ability to monetize in different ways (rather than just subscriptions).

Even creators part of larger multichannel networks (MCNs) like BBTV are using Zype to distribute content across other platforms. Hooplakidz, for example, is leveraging Zype to monetize on Apple TV. Entrepreneur, a traditional publisher, is using Zype to distribute its video content across Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

Zype is on the ground this year at VidCon this year to meet with creators and networks to chat about opportunities to expand their video businesses, and we caught up with CEO Ed Laczynski:

Found Remote: Who are some of the YouTube and Vine creators you're working with that are at VidCon?

Ed Laczynski: We work with many creators from comedy, DIY, fitness, fashion, news, beauty, and more.

What’s Trending, created by Shira Lazar, is streaming live from VidCon and interviewing several of the top and up-and-coming YouTubers and social influencers. They use Zype to push their YouTube and web content out to Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV. We’re complementary to what they’re doing on YouTube, and are helping them expand their audience by giving them their own branded presence in these new destinations.

Hooplakidz is another massively popular YouTube channel with over 6 million subscribers. They’re part of the BBTV MCN but they use Zype to expand beyond YouTube and monetize on devices like Apple TV.

FR: Why would creators need to use Zype when they could just monetize via YouTube?

Laczynski: YouTube and Vine are amazing platforms for discovery and fan engagement, but Zype allows creators to create direct connections to their fan base, including access to directly market to them and offer paid subscriptions and premium content purchases. In addition, the world of OTT devices - like Roku, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV - is growing fast and there are great advertising opportunities available there at higher CPMs.

A rule of thumb we at Zype have observed is that YouTubers can expect to convert over two per cent of their YouTube subscribers to paying customers and build their own video business with a recurring revenue model. It doesn’t happen in a silo -- great content, a passionate audience, and marketing are all required to make that happen -- but it’s not crazy or groundbreaking even at this point to directly monetize an audience in a significant way.

FR: There are plenty of platforms in the space - including VHX, which was just acquired by Vimeo - vying for creators. How does Zype distinguish itself?

Laczynski: Many other platforms in the space, including VHX, operate on a revshare model where creators pay a flat percentage based on volume. This rewards low-performing creators but punishes top-performing creators who, because of a higher number of subscribers, must pay an increasingly large amount of money each month. There’s no economy of scale to enjoy.

Zype is SaaS - not a revshare or an MCN - and creators keep their revenue because their Zype account is directly connected to their payment account from Stripe, Braintree, or other leading services, for all payment processing. Zype doesn’t touch our customers’ money.

It’s important to think about profitability. The breakeven point with Zype versus revshare deals is fewer than 1,000 subscribers. Our YouTube customers who created their own SVOD business with Zype have much more than 1,000 subscribers and would be losing money with the revshare platforms versus using Zype.

Other differentiators? Well, our customers have close to 100 apps live across Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV with double that on the way. That’s not true for most platforms in this space. We support live streaming and VOD. Customers can monetize with SVOD, TVOD, AVOD or a combination. The Zype platform itself is a robust video CMS for complete video library management, including metadata, transcoding, the works.

FR: What are some of the hurdles you’re facing as publishers, brands, and creators are all trying to figure out a way into the OTT and cross-device space?

Laczynski: Our goal is to make it easy for creators to take advantage of direct to consumer video OTT opportunities. We’re always working to educate our customers and guide them in best practices for creating a profitable video business. We’ve seen success in what works, and we’ve seen great examples of what not to do.

Challenges crop up when a customer doesn’t have access or ability to communicate directly with their subscribers. We help alleviate much of that because our customers have complete transparency and ownership of their subscriber data, audience metrics, and so on, but it’s important that customers also have their own mailing list, for instance, as well as a strong social media presence.

Just because you built it, that doesn’t mean they will come. You need to tell people about your OTT channels if you want them to show up!

Having the time to focus on those hurdles, though, that’s the real key. Zype exists to give customers peace of mind on content delivery. That’s invaluable because creators are free to focus on their passion - creating amazing content.

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