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VHX’s new subscription feature lets video creators break out of the YouTube box
Video company looking at a place at the table of YouTube alternatives.
In the race to find the best ways for video creators to distribute and profit from their content, VHX is hoping to put the power directly into creators’ hands.
“We’re at the point where we want to enable people to run their own video business,” explained cofounder Casey Pugh. “We learned a lot in our past two years. We want to give people the tools to do it themselves. It’s really exciting to see the creators take these tools and build a relationship with the audience.”
The company started off modeling Louis C.K.’s distribution model of selling his comedy special directly to his fans online. Their first client, Aziz Ansari, allowed them to put their technology into practice. The company has been working as a platform for creators to sell single video products and to access previous purchases to re-market new offerings. Starting today, they are expanding into a new model: subscriptions.
VHX’s new subscription feature allows users to automatically receive access to new content from creators as soon as it becomes available. The feature eliminates the need to make one-off purchases and gives creators the potential to amass substantial regular audiences—and, according to VHX, substantially more revenue—through their own branded channels.
“It’s always been a back of our mind idea,” said Pugh. “We talked to a lot of our publishers about doing this, and everyone’s been very interested in doing this. The problem is not everyone has the content yet, or it’s unlikely they’ll continue making more content. But in the past year, we’ve been working more with YouTubers and Internet video creators, and it’s making a lot more sense with them.”
The option is now open to the public, but VHX used one creator as a test subject pre-launch. Black&SexyTV has been publishing with VHX over the past year and, according to Pugh, they’ve sold five different series via the service, amassing an audience.
“[Their audience] got to this point where [users said], ‘We don’t want to pay [individually] for this anymore; we just want to subscribe,’” he explained. “It got to the breaking point that we had to do [subscriptions]. Within the first two days, they got three thousand subscribers.”
Black&SexyTV is on track to make $1 million VHX alone, according to the company.
Of course, VHX isn’t the only player in the video-sales and subscription game, but they see themselves as “the format” or the “technology background.”
“We want to work with people who want to do it themselves,” said Pugh. “If you look at Vessel, all Vessel is, is that they own content, they own technology, and they have a different pricing model around that. We like to think that VHX is separate from that. There are a lot of people trying to solve both the content and technology problem. If someone owned all the same content Vessel has, they could use VHX to build a Vessel, if they wanted to.”
Now, VHX’s goal is to keep growing their user-base, and in turn their subscriber base, so they can offer more to their creators.
“The more people using VHX, the more people we can help out by leveraging the network, like a Kickstarter does with their network,” Pugh said.
Photo via VHX | Remix by Jason Reed
A former YouTube reporter for the Daily Dot, Rae Votta has more than a decade of experience in the digital and entertainment industries. Her work has appeared on AOL, Huffington Post, Out Magazine, Logo, VH1, Current TV, Billboard, and NYMag. She joined Netflix in 2016.