Author: Eric Peckham

The founding story of Patreon

TECHCRUNCH It’s May 7, 2013 and Jack Conte is, in his own words, “totally exhausted, slash, totally wired, in that really weird in-between zone.” He has spent 18 hours per day for the last 50 days building a replica of the Millennium Falcon set from “Star Wars” and shooting a music video in it. When Conte has a vision for something he wants to create, he becomes obsessive. In fact, he maxed out his credit cards to see his vision through on this one. But this is the moment. He uploads his video to YouTube where he has 100,000...

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The business of Patreon

TECHCRUNCH Patreon provides business infrastructure to independent content creators: people making videos, music, podcasts, paintings, comics, games, magazines and other forms of media for fans online. It helps them turn the small subset of superfans within their broader fan base into paying monthly patrons and manage relationships with those patrons across the web. Patreon is angling to become the dominant platform for creators to build these membership businesses, a position from which it could expand into other products and services for creators. In this section of the EC-1, I am digging into the structure, performance and health of Patreon...

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The thesis of Patreon

TECHCRUNCH Can Patreon become a powerful, multi-billion-dollar company at the heart of the global media and entertainment industry? It’s founders and investors certainly believe so. In this Extra Crunch EC-1, I dove into Patreon’s founding story, product, business model, and competition. Now I want to dissect the foundational thesis of where Patreon could unlock massive economic value. If it turns out they got the thesis wrong, tactical and product details won’t save it. As I see it, Patreon’s thesis includes four hypotheses: There’s a ton of untapped economic value in getting the mid-tail creator market to adopt membership business...

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The competitors of Patreon

TECHCRUNCH In December, Patreon CEO Jack Conte shared a list on Twitter predicting what being an independent content creator will be like in 10 years. One of his predictions was that there will be fierce competition between distribution platforms to get creators paid. That competition has already begun, which is good for creators, but is it good for Patreon? Patreon holds a strategic position in the creator toolset, particularly around building membership businesses — the recurring income from superfans that allows for creator sustainability. Among its competitors are some of the richest tech companies in the world who own...

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The definitive Patreon reading guide

TECHCRUNCH At nearly six years old, Patreon has gone from startup to king of membership. Now an established leader in an industry that’s been flipped on its head, Patreon’s path has been anything but predictable — peppered with its share of milestones, mishaps, pivots, champions, and critics — and offers invaluable insights for founders, investors, creatives, or those looking to make sense of the new media landscape. Since we’ve probably read almost every word written on Patreon as part for our “under-the-hood” exploration in this EC-1, we’ve compiled a supplemental list of resources and readings we believe are particularly helpful...

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Reading List: Podcasting

TECHCRUNCH I argued in my recent post What’s Next for Podcasting? that we’re at a pivot point where podcasting is becoming a mainstream content format for all types of shows and creators as Hollywood enters the fray. There’s a surge of interest by both creatives and businesspeople in podcasts right now, so I’ve compiled a reading guide to help newcomers get up to speed on the state of the podcasting market. Follow these links for thoughtful analysis by operators, investors, and journalists in the space and let me know (@epeckham / email) what other posts I should add to the...

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What’s next? The top media executives on the job market

TECHCRUNCH Keep an eye out for the next moves by these entrepreneurs and executives. A number of the biggest names in media left their jobs over the last year (or announced they will be leaving soon), including a handful of now-billionaires who have resources, ambition, and time on their hands to explore something new. We are experimenting with new content forms at TechCrunch. This is a rough draft of something new —provide feedback directly to the author, Eric Peckham (@epeckham), our columnist focused on the intersection of media and technology. Most notably, there are Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and...

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The tactics behind The Athletic’s breakout success in sports subscriptions

TECHCRUNCH Local newspapers may be shuttering and people may be consuming most news on social media, but don’t tell Alex Mather that a subscription news publication can’t grow like a unicorn startup. His 2-year-old sports publisher The Athletic has gained over 100,000 paid subscribers (60% under age 34) and has a 90% retention rate. Having already raised $30 million in its short life, the company announced a new $40 million Series C yesterday, led by Founders Fund and Bedrock Capital. It reportedly values The Athletic around $200 million. I interviewed Alex Mather (The Athletic’s CEO) and Eric Stomberg (Partner at...

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