The Internet is awash in free videos to watch. For consumers, that's been great news as there are more choices available today than ever. For independent content creators, the Internet offers an unparalleled opportunity to build audience and visibility. The problem is that for these creators, actually making money online has remained a tough nut to crack.
Now, a startup named LittleCast is giving content creators an easy way to sell their videos, via Facebook and in iOS and Android mobile apps. CEO Amra Tareen explained to me that the process is pretty straightforward - content creators just upload their videos to LittleCast and decide how much to charge. LittleCast transcodes the video into various formats and HD/SD resolutions and stores them in the cloud. They can then be published in LittleCast's media player on Facebook and in the mobile apps.
LittleCast also handles all of the payment processing, authentication, analytics and reporting for each video, making it essentially a turnkey package for content creators. In other words, whereas a star like Louis CK can afford to have a custom backend system for his online specials, LittleCast is for everyone else. Viewers can preview the videos before they purchase. Once purchased, videos are securely kept within the LittleCast app and cannot be shared.
There's a 15% listing fee to LittleCast, plus a bandwidth/transport fee. Facebook or Apple takes a 30% fee on each purchase. Using a calculator LittleCast provides, a 3-minute video sold for $2.99 for example, would net the creator $1.60 or about 54% of gross. Clearly a creator would have to sell a lot of videos to generate meaningful revenue.
In fact, gauging demand is probably the biggest open question for LittleCast. It's one thing for creators to have the capability to be paid, but with so much free video available, will users actually bite? Amra and technology partner/husband Stephen Ackroyd concede it's still early but said they are seeing interest from independent bands, training/educational video creators and filmmakers so far. At a minimum the Facebook integration means a wide audience can be made aware of the buy option.
LittleCast has raised a $2 million seed round.