The Internet has enabled anyone to become a content creator. Quality content isn’t common, but there are more than a few people producing incredible content. The trick has been for these Internet shows to get enough money to support their high production values. Enter a website called Patreon.com. Patreon provides an easy way for viewers to give money to the people producing the content. Some content producers balk at this and view it as begging for money. I think the opposite is true: if Internet content gives me value, I want to give them money so they can keep doing what they are doing. We both benefit from the relationship.
The general format is that users say they will give $X for each episode but they can also set a monthly limit. So I might say that I’ll give you $1 per episode but I’ll limit it to $2/month. If you make three episodes in one month, you won’t get any money from me for that third one. So when you see total donation amounts per episode, remember that’s only guaranteed for the first episode of the month. It will probably drop down a bit for any episodes after that.
It has been quite successful for a couple of my favorite shows.
- Cordkillers has 1761 patrons giving them roughly $2300 per episode.
- Smarter Every Day has 1022 patrons giving him roughly $3600 per episode.
I’m hoping that some of the other web content I enjoy moves to this model so I can help support them and keep them “on the air.” The whole idea is a throwback to the middle ages when the wealthy would pay musicians and artists. The difference is that now we can crowdfund these and make it all happen with a tiny amount of money from a large number of people. I’d much rather give money directly to these independent creators than the huge chunk of money that goes to the cable company every month.