Start-up Famebit delves into original content

Famebit, an online service that connects YouTube creators with brands, announced that it is creating and distributing its own original content beginning later this month.

The Santa Monica-based start-up will release FilterFreeTV, the its first of many original digital shows, on an app that will launch at the annual VidCon at the Anaheim Convention Center on Thursday.

The show will cost app users $1.99 per episode. Additional content -- including backstage footage, bloopers, cast pranks and interviews -- will be available for free.

Since Famebit launched last year, the service has grown to include about 13,000 digital creators and over 3,000 brands including Marvel and Adidas.

Content creators, who have modest to mid-sized followings, use Famebit to find brands they are interested in working with to create sponsored videos. Now, Famebit hopes delving into original content will help enable creators to further monetize their audience and expand their subscribers.

"For us it feels like a natural transition," said Agnes Kozera, Famebit co-founder and chief operating officer. "We are always looking for ways to monetize. There was also a demand among our creators for this. ... It's about providing more opportunities."

There are currently dozens of companies called multichannel networks, designed to help assist digital stars with programming, funding, cross-promotion, partner management, digital rights management, monetization, sales and audience development.

However, Kozera said some creators who use Famebit felt opportunities to create original series were only available to top-tier talent at multichannel networks.

Famebit does not see itself as a rival to YouTube. In fact, Kozera believes the series could only drive viewership to the stars' YouTube channels.

"We've always been adamant about pushing content to YouTube, but one of the things we want to do is help creators ... achieve their own goals," Kozera said. "We just want to show there are other ways of getting their original Web series out than having to have an agent or being tied by a contract."

"FilterFreeTV" is an uncensored digital talk show that discusses the issues millennials deal with on a daily basis. It stars YouTube creators RJ Aguiar, who has 600,000 followers on social, Kayla Lashae, who has 350,000 followers on social, Raya H., who has 700,000 followers on social, Deserey Morales, who has 150,000 followers on social, and Tiffany Ma, who has 280,000 subscribers.

The first episode will make its debut at VidCon, along with a meet-and-greet with fans.

For more news on the entertainment industry, follow me @saba_h

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times


9:55 a.m., July 20, 2015: This story has been updated to include a photo from "FilterFreeTV" and more information on the app's release.

It was originally published on July 14, 2015.