Above: Screens from The Young Turk’s Victorious-created app for superfans
Superfans, rev your engines.
Today, startup Victorious launches the first two mobile apps in what it promises will be a steady flow of such vehicles for the most vigorous fans of creative stars.
Their superfans — which Victorious says are the ones who are most engaged and buy the most things — will be offered a cornucopia of tools, content, and treats.
CEO and cofounder Sam Rogoway told me that superfans might represent 20 percent of a creative star’s total fanbase — or it might be all of them, if there’s a high enough level of enthusiasm, as with some niche bands.
“Most of our creators have 500,000-plus subscribers,” he said. But he added that Victorious doesn’t care about the fanbase size: “We’re about engagement,” he said.
You don’t have to qualify as a superfan to download or use one of the apps, but the apps are designed for that level of enthusiasm.
“We’d love to be the largest passion platform in the universe,” chief creative officer and cofounder Bing Chen told me.
Apps will feature never-before-seen video clips, live chats with superfans’ idols, and polls by the creators on what content or merchandise they should next offer.
There are media editing tools, community features, contests, sharing of fan-generated content, and options to buy customized emojis and merchandise. Victorious says some creators will offer interactive shows within the app, although the kinds are not specified.
The native apps, which are owned and managed by the creators, are available for iOS and Android devices. Ads, e-commerce, and sponsored activities and content are the revenue sources, with the creators taking a 70 percent cut.
The upcoming lineup of creators includes filmmaker/musician Freddie Wong, makeup demonstrator and YouTube personality Michelle Phan, YouTube licensing company Jukin Media, Vine/YouTube star DeStorm Power, sketch TV series AwesomenessTV, and YouTube entertainer Jenna Marbles. Victorious also promises to go beyond its current focus on online stars, with announcements this summer of media partnerships with major film franchises and mainstream TV shows.
These are not the first apps for fans, of course, but Victorious says their platform offers an easier way to create and manage such vehicles without hiring a software development shop. There are also other app makers for content creators, especially in the music business. Victorious says theirs provides a broader array of creation and management options that can complement any existing fan-oriented vehicles.
With a growing stable of talent, the resulting apps may similarly showcase a range of creative styles. One question is whether the resulting content and activities will take the easy route, or the more groundbreaking one.
In the easy route, the various apps could offer only slightly different versions of a more functional fanpage.
Or, more ambitiously, some of Victorious’ offspring could give birth to a new form of programming: accomplished online shows created entirely — or equally — by fans.
Founded last year, Victorious has raised $25 million from Kleiner Perkins, Redpoint Ventures, Lowercase Capital, Interwest Partners, and others.
VentureBeat’s VB Insight team is studying email marketing tools. Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.