Room for Optimism in Wake of Revver Sale?

Now that Revver has been sold to LiveUniverse, and LiveVideo has been officially launched, what’s the future for Revver’s business model? After all, it was just a few months ago that Revver revealed they’d paid $1 million to content creators since opening their doors to the public.

While no independent creators got rich from the plan, it did help a few pay some bills while they got their shows off the ground. Ask a Ninja earned Kent Nichols and Douglas Sarine over $45,000 on Revver, which as they noted, “Helped us limp by until we found a better ad sales partner.” That’s the kind of nominal but critical support new shows need to be nurtured into the big leagues.

French Maid TV‘s Tim Street went from paying thousands of dollars in hosting expenses before switching to Revver, where in a good month he walked away with $3,000 — but that slowed to a trickle, with a take of just $74 in January, rendering a content model he was so enthusiastic about last year now obsolete.

Granted, he hasn’t published much, but the downturn in traffic and revenue from the site (not to mention late checks) was clearly discouraging. Making a one-off hit is one thing, but building a brand (and a business) is another, and a sense of security in the stability of the tools is critical.

What about the hundreds who received smaller checks? Kevin “Nalts” Nalty earned using Revver the equivalent of 10 hours work as a consultant at his stated rate — $2,600. Nothing to quit a job over, but nothing you’d want to leave on the table, either.

While Revver still offers free hosting, and has good tools to deliver dynamic advertising, that doesn’t mean there are advertisers buying into the content. Granted, that seems to be endemic in the industry — nobody’s making much money from run-of-network ads on YouTube or Blip.tv, either. What money there is can be found in programming commissioned by sponsors, or creating enough domain traffic to leverage for banner ads and merchandising sales.

I spoke to Angela Wilson-Gyetvan, Revver’s VP of marketing and content, who said that revenue was still coming in. She also shot down any rumors that the company had ever paid creators via the use of credit cards. “The company is well-structured as a business and we’re happy about the way things look going forward,” she assured me over the phone.

Street, for his part, is still talking to Revver, but keeping his options open (whereas Kent Nichols has removed episodes of Ask a Ninja from the site). Maybe LiveUniverse, with both Revver and LiveVideo in their stable, can keep the model that paid popular creators intact. Hollywood, after all, has a weakness for comeback stories.

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