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Why We Switched to a Pay Per Story Model

Today we launched two new MediaStorm stories. We worked on these projects for almost a year and everyone on the staff contributed to them.

Over the past seven years, we’ve done this countless times: used our resources to produce something we believed in, then distributed the final product freely on the Web.

As an early producer of online documentary multimedia, our primary mission has been to raise awareness about important issues through a robust social media network. We’ve also tried to create a model that others could use so that more storytellers could harness the medium to effect change.

By distributing our stories for free, we’ve been able to reach millions of viewers and bring attention to important causes ranging from climate change to conflict resolution.

But the reality is, no company or industry can sustain itself for long without producing a product for which people are willing to pay.

At MediaStorm we think it’s time for us, as content producers and publishers, to bring this conversation into the limelight. Frankly, our long-term survival as an industry depends on it.

Since our early days we’ve had success monetizing training materials, starting with our onsite workshops, and branching out to our online training series and our workflow resources. But the challenge has been in how to monetize our publication.

We have decided it is time to try a new model that transfers a minimal cost to the viewer. The result is a new system we are launching today called Pay Per Story. It requires viewers to pay $1.99 for unlimited access to watch a story.

We are rolling this out today with the publication of our two new films A Shadow Remains and Rite of Passage. Client work and workshop productions will continue to be available at no cost to our viewers.

The revenue from Pay Per Story will be used to offset the cost of producing MediaStorm publications and will help fund more stories in the future. We have always shared half our revenue with our creative partners, and we will continue to do this with funds brought in through Pay Per Story.

We believe that our industry is in need of a sustainable business model that will allow us to continue to report and produce compelling stories. While Pay Per Story may not be the definitive answer, we believe that it can be a step to getting us there. And, we will be licensing our player to others in the future so they can also leverage the business model and functionality that we have developed.

We are excited to share this new approach with you. We hope that you will try it out and let us know what you think.

Brian Storm
Founder & Executive Producer
MediaStorm

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  • http://benjaminhoste.com Ben Hoste

    This is really interesting. I’d be very interested in hearing about how this model performs for these two new pieces in relation to how you used to release content (as I’m sure others would as well). Just as Louie CK did with his self released comedy special (which has spawned others, notably Aziz Ansari) transparency after the fact regarding your level of success may encourage others to follow suit.

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