While the technology to sell content directly to consumers has existed for a while, few seemed to take advantage of it. Then something changed: First there was Louis C.K., selling his one-hour special Live At The Beacon Theatre to fans for just $5, DRM-free and all. Then Aziz Ansari followed suit. So did Jim Gaffigan. In fact, if you’re a big-time comic and not selling comedy specials direct to your fans, you’re probably doing something wrong.
And it’s not just comics — there’s also a growing community of indie filmmakers who are selling movies on their own, forgoing traditional distribution channels. And what about musicians who want to distribute recordings of their performances, or educators whose lectures could be valuable outside the university system? If you’re not a well-known star, there haven’t been a lot of good ways to make your content available to consumers.
Anyway, that’s what Pivotshare is for. The startup provides a self-serve platform that will let anyone — absolutely anyone — upload their audio or video files to the Internet and sell them directly to fans. And to do so, it’s raised one million dollars in Series A financing from new media investor TownsgateMedia.
Up until now, most content creators putting video online tried to recoup the costs through advertising, but that’s not always the best solution. In part, that’s because getting set up was too complicated. But with Pivotshare, creators don’t have to worry about the vagaries of picking an online video platform, paying for a CDN, setting up a payment system, etc. All they have to do is upload a video, set their price, and Pivotshare takes care of the rest.
Even better, there are no upfront costs or recurring monthly fees associated with publishing those videos through Pivotshare. The startup collects a portion of sales, which means that creators only pay Pivotshare when they are actually making revenue through its platform.
Pivotshare isn’t alone in trying to help content creators monetize their content. VHX, which was behind Aziz Ansari’s special, as well as the online distribution of Indie Game: The Movie, recently raised $1.25 million. The difference is that Pivotshare is hoping to go beyond big-name content producers to enable speakers, conference organizers, and other associations to better monetize their video assets. There will likely be even more companies popping up to cash in on this new opportunity as direct-to-consumer media sales continue to take off.