Analysis: Patreon seeing strong growth in creators, pledges, pageviews

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I’ve made no secret of my belief that a patron model is an interesting one for independent digital creators and offers a true alternative to one-time crowdfunding campaigns, per-unit sell through on Amazon, and to those subscription models every new media startup in Silicon Valley seems to be touting nowadays.

The main poster children today for digital patronage are Beacon, a writer-focused patron platform, and Patreon.  Patreon is particularly interesting to me because its flexibility allows it to fit many different types of creators.

To get an idea of just how distributed Patreon is across different creator types, I asked them to break out their creator pool by category. The following chart shows the percentage breakdown:

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 1.25.06 PM

As can be seen above, while YouTube still leads (CEO Jack Conte is, after all, a YouTube creator himself), Patreon is doing well in three other categories: podcasting, writing and comics.  And while these areas represent a significant chunk of the independent creator community online, there’s no reason why Patreon couldn’t eventually also extend to other forms of content.

This strong representation in these four categories is leading to robust growth for the company. Below is a snapshot of the company’s overall metrics:

  • Avg Pledge per creation: $7
  • 2 Million Page Views per month.
  • Page views growing at 70% per month
  • 65% month on month creator sign up growth.
  • By the end of February will have over 10,000 creators

What’s particularly interesting is the aggregate pledges committed is growing rapidly, as seen by the chart below. The chart shows the overall aggregate value of recurring pledges for each unit of work turned in by the creators is nearing $200 thousand.

In other words, for each aggregate new unit of work turned in by Patreon’s 10 thousand or so creators, the company expects to writes checks equaling nearly $150 thousand today, and $200 thousand by the end of February.

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 1.29.47 PM

As can be seen above, pledge volumes seem to have hit a knee in the curve in late fall and  are accelerating.

Match these robust growth numbers with a growing contingent of big name independent creators in a number of categories evangelizing Patreon, and it might not be long before both the press and the broader creator community are talking about patron-models as a viable new funding model alongside crowdfunding, paywalls and digital sell-through.