Hey, there, Nerdfighteria,
Last week marked the sixth anniversary of Hank uploading his song Accio Deathly Hallows
to YouTube, an event that changed both our lives dramatically. Vlogbrothers went from 200ish subscribers to several thousand, and the Harry Potter fan community flooded into Nerdfighteria with all their goodwill and generosity. The awesome has been growing ever since, and through your love and support, we've been able to make the stuff we always dreamed of making, including newer shows like Crash Course and SciShow. But those shows are not currently sustainable (they're funded through google grants that will expire at the end of the year). And that's where our newest project, Subbable
, comes in.
Subbable is a voluntary subscription service that allows you to pay monthly for stuff you like. There are perks, like kickstarter, but it's different in that it doesn't seek to fund a single product; it seeks to fund an ongoing project in a sustained way. Also, you can subscribe for $0 a month and still get access to hangouts and behind-the-scenes video. Crash Course videos will continue to live on YouTube, but they'll also be embedded in Subbable
, where--get this--YOUR SUBSCRIPTIONS WILL ACTUALLY SHOW UP IN YOUR SUBSCRIPTION FEED. I know. It's a radical idea.
We know that many of you can't afford to pay for Crash Course, and that's okay! But we also know that many people who like and value Crash Course are able to pay a few bucks (or many bucks!) per month to make it possible for us to continue to make the videos, and hopefully even to grow. Every month, your donation will be added to your perk bank at Subbable--subscribe at $10 a month, for instance, and after 3 months, you can redeem your banked credit for a signed poster. Or you can get a signed poster right away, or make a one-time donation. It's a pretty flexible system.
Over the past couple years, Hank and I have talked a lot about our dissatisfaction with advertising as a way of funding online video: Advertising sometimes works great, but because advertisers only care if you watch something and not whether you LOVE it, they end up overvaluing mere distraction and undervaluing the stuff that really matters to us.
Crash Course videos cost more than $5,000 per episode to make, because we have to pay teachers and writers and animators and we have to pay for image rights and editors and equipment. Thousands of people have told us they find Crash Course helpful, but for the show to be financially sustainable on ads alone, it would need 10 million views per video, and that just doesn't happen for 12-minute-long videos about, like, electrons. But we still believe there's a way for Crash Course to continue existing through the direct support of the people who care about it.
So we hope you'll check out Subbable! Also, let us know if there are bugs. There will probably be bugs.
Subbable isn't just going to be about Crash Course. In the coming days, many creators will be rolling out Subbable pages to help fund their channel and projects. Our hope is that Subbable
will be a step toward an Internet that rewards engagement over distraction, one where success is not measured by how many people watch something but by how valuable the audience finds it.
Thanks, and DFTBA,