NMR recently wrote about YouTube channels possibly having the opportunity to charge for premium content through monthly subscriptions. It’s a rolling idea that’s excited many YouTube artists to think about experimenting with. I’m going to give you a firsthand look at why it’s the future and how you can do it. The example I’m going to use is the channel I manage: Simple Pickup. And, I think people should pay attention because they’re making headway in this market.
What Simple Pickup Does
You read right: Simple Pickup’s Jason, Jesse and Kong teach men how to pick up girls through in-depth video instructional guides. Such content may be a little out there, but that’s why it’s being served on a subscription service platform.
Why They Do It
The subscription service is a way to diversify from their YouTube channel: entertainment vs. instructional. It can be confusing, but as Jason has explained, “We wanted to do more, and this is for our fans who wanted more. But because the information is quite sensitive, we had to create this service.”
It’s a balance which is working for us — we’ve successfully picked up a few thousand subscribers, and that count is still steadily climbing. Because these numbers are high, we’re able to do even more on our service. I see the Simple Pickup guys filming, editing, podcasting, and writing all their stuff Monday through Saturday (Sundays are our days off), so this service helps us because a majority of the subscription return is used to cover our heavy production and equipment costs. Yes, I’ve been told that not being funded by a studio to produce our work is a big financial burden. I disagree, because at the end of the day, the artists have full ownership and more flexibility over their content. As Kong always says: “We’re not funded by any studio, and I want to keep it that way.” We love the freedom the subscription model provides us. For example, Simple Pickup‘s YouTube channel is tied to a third-party network, but if we did the same type of content for our service — well, we don’t want any network to pull the plug if they think our stuff is too offensive or too controversial.
We’re still in the experimentation phase, but for right now, we’re not receiving any heavy opposition from our subscription fans. It’s our hope that we can just keep doing what we love to do: teaching men how to pick up girls. You can check out Simple Pickup’s promo here:
You Can Do It Too
For those of you who are looking to create a subscription service for your YouTube brand, there are a few things to keep in mind, but the most important thing is to make sure you’ve created a YouTube following first. Making your brand credible by giving out free, entertaining content BEFORE creating your subscription service is crucial for a successful launch and long-lasting service. Don’t expect anyone to sign up or even promote your service if there is absolutely no proof that your service will be valuable. In Simple Pickup’s case, they had 200,000 YouTube subscribers and the trust of their fans that what they going to provide was actually going to help them before beginning Project Go.
Stay True to Your Brand
Audiences can tell if you’re doing it solely for profit, as in they’ll know if you’re selling out. The reason you were able to create a following is because your fans understand and empathize with your brand. If you lose this by shoving your service down their throats, or if you seem too sleazy salesman-esque, people won’t sign up, and worse, you’ll lose fans. Many of our subscribers have praised Simple Pickup for staying true to the personalities seen on the YouTube channel.
Know What You’re Doing
It’s not easy creating an organized, functional and streamlined service for your fans, but this is what we did as my partner and I created the functionality portion of the service. Doing everything in-house not only saves you money, but yet again, it gives you more control of how the service will look, making sure you stay true to your brand.
Don’t Stop Making YouTube Videos
Jesse always says, “We’re never going to stop making YouTube videos because we love entertaining our fans with comedic content.” It’s imperative that you never stop making YouTube videos, because it’ll show you still care about producing freemium content (not selling out). It may give you more work, but if you care about your fans then it’s well worth it to stay on YouTube.
About the author:
Jonathan Gaurano is the manager of Simple Pickup. He is also the Co-Founder and COO of Venture Chimp, a management firm run by nerds. He can be reached at jonathan [at] venturechimp.com