Developed specifically for YouTube, TubeStart encourages creators to keep their primary content publicly available to maximize AdSense revenue, while acquiring recurring monthly contributions from fans.
Creators can conduct conventional crowd-funding campaigns between $500 and $500,000, or develop a subscription-based campaign with supporters paying between $5 and $150 monthly.
Crowd-funding communities like Kickstarter -- and now TubeStart -- have
emerged to supplement any ad revenue that upstart producers can earn online.
TubeStart CEO Josef Holm notes that "YouTube is powered by ad sales and ad sales are based on views. Advertisers don't value the relationship between a viewer and a YouTube creator, they only value views and demographics." But some channels "don't generate millions and millions of views to adequately support production cost.
This is where TubeStart comes in. We connect fans of online video directly with the people who make them. No advertising and no forced payments. If you enjoy your favorite YouTube channel you can support it through a monthly subscription and get access to exclusive bonus content as a reward; or any other kind of perk the creator can think of."
YouTube, for its part, has sought to support small video producers with its profit-sharing program. "TubeStart was invented for YouTubers and their fans," notes Holm. "The site features a content delivery system that allows campaigners to deliver your reward content only to supporter of their campaign."
As a result, entrepreneurs are finding the funds they seek. In 2012, crowd-funding was responsible for about 1 million successful campaigns, and $2.7 billion across the globe, research firm Massolution recently reported.
This year, Massolution expects crowd-funding efforts to surpass $5 billion -- the majority of which should come from U.S. donors.
Despite growing consumer demand and numerous success stories, however, producing digital videos for a profit remains an elusive enterprise.
Hosting video and fundraising platforms, meanwhile, is proving to be very profitable for some lucky startups.
Late last year, for example, Maker Studios -- which specializes in creating and distributing YouTube clips -- raised over $40 million from Time Warner and other investors. (The company is now reportedly planning to launch its own online video site by the end of the year.)