Why Nebula is Breaking Into News 🗞️

The creator-owned streaming service is doubling down on original content

Good morning. Cassey Ho, Yes Theory, and ZHC will be walking the runway as part of Theorist Media's first “Creators in Fashion” show. While MatPat may have retired from video hosting duties, it seems he still knows how to throw quite a party: The event’s in-person audience will be around 150 people, with a livestream broadcast across all featured creators’ YouTube channels.

Nebula Launches News Division

Streaming service Nebula adds a news category that will feature new original shows like RealLifeLore’s “War Room” / Nebula

Creator-owned streaming service Nebula announced its updated slate of scripted and unscripted original content yesterday, starting with a new division: Nebula News.

“The intent of the news category is not to be up-to-the-minute, replacing CNN…we’re trying to give the people who who are already getting [most] of their information from social media a better way to get context around [that information],” Nebula CEO Dave Wiskus told us.

Quick primer: Since launching in 2019, Nebula has grown to roughly 200 partner creators and 680,000 paying subscribers, according to the company’s blog. Partner creators receive a cut of subscription revenue that they help generate plus a stake in the company’s equity pool.

Five years in, Nebula is now investing more in original productions. Wiskus and chief content officer Sam Denby tapped Jack Kelly (the founder of online media group TLDR) to lead Nebula’s newsroom.

  • The flagship show at launch: War Room, a series hosted by history creator Joseph Pisenti (aka RealLifeLore) covering major conflicts taking place around the globe.

  • Nebula News also ordered Boomers, a feature documentary from Tom Nicholas about why political leaders are skewing older and older.

Why it matters: In both its news division and upcoming slate of short films, Nebula wants to build a repeatable pipeline for creators who are interested in producing original, premium content—but who might not have the resources or expertise to make it themselves.

“If step 1 is build a successful YouTube channel, and step 10 is get a Netflix deal, where the hell are steps 2 through 9?” Wiskus said. “Whoever can build a bridge between what we call the creator economy and traditional entertainment and media…that’s the winner, [and] that’s what we’re trying to be.”

How Improv Got This Producer a Job

Sam Bowers (left) produces for and manages creator Doctor Mike (right) / Sam Bowers, Doctor Mike

Managing editor and producer Sam Bowers started working for health creator Doctor Mike in 2020…and it was Bowers’ improv comedy experience that set him apart.

Here’s how Bowers, who found the job on Indeed and now handles scheduling, hiring, strategy, and more for Doctor Mike (and his nearly 12 million subscribers), uses his comedy roots in his day-to-day →

Thinking of creative video concepts. “The biggest key for me is a ‘yes, and’ mentality,” Bowers told us. “You need to take contributions from everyone, and rather than saying ‘no’ start with a ‘yes’ and take an idea and run with it.” 

Adapting on the fly. Bowers’ first assignment in March 2020 was scheduling a call with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases leading the U.S. on navigating Covid-19.

“Out of nowhere I was thrust onto the front page of creating medical content on YouTube at a time when every single person was searching ‘coronavirus,’” Bowers said. But he figured it out, and the video was one of Doctor Mike’s most-viewed videos of the year. 

Taking big swings. “We don’t have 50 years of experience in [the creator economy] to know what does and doesn’t work,” Bowers said. “I think we’re finding the most success from these platforms comes from taking big chances and so don’t be afraid to chase your bold enthusiastic idea and see what flies.”

This is part of our series covering the operators who power creator businesses behind the scenes—read more here. Know someone we should highlight? Hit reply and let us know.

TikTok Roudup: Security Briefings & Creator Payouts

TikTok continues to call for support against banning the platform while also rolling out new features / Illustration by Moy Zhong

Here are the most important headlines this week in the ongoing battle to determine TikTok’s fate in the US.

The Senate is getting a briefing from US national security officials today on potential threats posed by a Chinese-owned TikTok. Committee chair Maria Cantwell told Reuters, “We'll probably have a better idea in a week what we think the options are.”

TikTok continues to fight against the bill, a battle that’s included calling on its users to act as lobbyists by contacting their representatives. Even a video from TikTok CEO Shou Chew appealed to users to “have their voices heard.”

Meanwhile, TikTok is building out its monetization offerings. The platform is adding a new feature to its revamped Creator Rewards program that pays creators for making content based on popular search results.

➕ Community Tab

On Monday, we asked what you thought of courses as a revenue stream for creators. 64% of respondents are all for it, while 36% aren’t sold yet or think it’s overrated. Here are some of our favorite responses:

“While I think eventually the market might become oversaturated, right now creators are winning with courses. Even creators with more niche, smaller audiences are able to create successful courses by really tapping into the loyal communities they've built.” —Amanda M.

“Courses have started to feel cash grabby IMO, unless a creator has a real skill/passion and is teaching something legitimately useful (ex. MKBHD’s course or Girl With the Dogs releasing home grooming courses) I think it’s over, esp for creators selling “how to be a creator” courses.” —Preeti N.

"Courses and consulting have unexpectedly become my main source of income as a creator. I built a following of half a million with short form and businesses wanted to hire me for my skills, so I leaned into an education/consulting model and love it!" —Rory B.

“I don’t think that courses are necessarily a bad idea, but I feel like the creator involvement often seems gimmicky, almost like the course wasn’t quite good enough alone, and so the creator makes up the difference.” —Ben S.

🔥 Press Worthy

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