What's Going On With Watcher? 📺

The digital media studio backtracks its plan to leave YouTube

Good morning. Yesterday the Senate passed a $95 billion legislative package that will give ByteDance up to one year to sell TikTok or face a ban in the US. The bill was then signed by President Biden earlier today. We’re keeping an eye on how this story plays out—stay tuned.

Kara and Nate Launch a Creator Affiliate Program

Travel creators and couple Kara Buchanan (right) and Nate Buchanan (second from right) launch an affiliate program with Daily Drop (left) / Kara and NateDaily Drop

It’s been a big year for travel creators Kara and Nate’s discount and deals brand, Daily Drop. In the last few months, Daily Drop’s YouTube channel surpassed 150,000 subscribers, while their newsletter topped 1 million subscribers. 

This week, Daily Drop launched its latest offering: an affiliate program for travel creators. When creators link out to Daily Drop’s list of recommended credit cards to earn airline miles and hotel points, they’ll get a commission on those links. 

More details: Global affiliate marketing is growing by about 8% annually right now. And in 2023, 50% of Daily Drop’s revenue came from recommending a single credit card. 

“Being able to offer all our content and courses for free and just monetize on the card side has been a big reason why we’ve been able to grow as fast as we have,” Kara and Nate creative director Dusty James Buchanan told us.

Credit card affiliates are complicated, though. It’s hard for small creators to establish relationships with card companies, and there are complicated terms and conditions creators have to track.

Enter: Daily Drop Affiliates. Creators sign up for free and get paid affiliate commissions anytime someone is approved for a credit card through the link the creator shared. 

  • Kara and Nate’s team takes care of the details, like helping creators meet compliance requirements. 

  • Creators can also monetize through Daily Drop’s newsletter—they earn commission through new subscribers who get approved for credit cards.

“If there’s an article about how to get into an exclusive lounge at the airport and there’s also a credit card that can help you get into that lounge, all of that can be monetized. So [creators] are not only getting access to the cards but to the content as well,” Buchanan said.

Big picture: Other travel brands like The Points Guy and Expedia offer credit card affiliate programs, but Kara and Nate’s program is distinctly creator-focused. They’ll provide strategy calls to help creators plan their own affiliate content and help them make and manage co-branded card pages.

So What’s Going On With Watcher?

Watcher, founded by (left to right) Steven Lim, Shane Madej, and Ryan Bergara, apologize and retract initial plans for their WatcherTV subscription service / Watcher

Watcher, a digital media studio best known for its horror and mystery content, announced last week that it’ll no longer upload new videos to the Watcher YouTube channel—opting instead to post exclusively on the studio’s own streaming service and charge subscribers $5.99 per month.

The reaction? Not great. The announcement video has over 249,000 dislikes (far outpacing the video’s 37,000 likes), according to analytics tool Jabrek.

  • Many fans left negative comments criticizing the price of the subscription and the way the creators communicated the change.

  • The response led Watcher to backtrack on Monday. Their content will now be available on YouTube…30 days after it premieres on Watcher’s streaming service.

Quick backstory: Watcher was founded by BuzzFeed alums Steven Lim, Ryan Bergara, and Shane Madej. The YouTube channel has amassed nearly 3 million subscribers and over 400 million views since launching in 2019.

The team (which has grown to ~15 employees) said that their goal is to make television-quality, unscripted content—and that the streaming service model offers them a more sustainable way to do that.

Looking ahead: In the follow-up video, Lim apologized for “implying that…anybody can afford [the subscription]” and suggested that the new approach will give fans the option to wait if they'd rather watch for free. 

Comments have largely trended positive since, and commentary creators Phil DeFranco and MoistCr1TiKaL both noted that it's rare to see a good YouTube apology video.

Zoom out: Creators are “hungry” for subscription models (like Nebula or Dropout) that can support the production of premium content, according to Hank Green. “The ad-supported business is…getting harder for anyone who isn’t just a one or two person team,” Green tweeted.

Snap Courts Political Creators Ahead of 2024 Election

In partnership with Vote.org, Snapchat launches a in-app tools to help users register to vote in the presidential election / Snapchat

Snap announced a new partnership with nonprofit organization Vote.org on Monday that will allow Snapchat users to sign up for election reminders and register to vote—all within the app.

The company will also work with “trusted media partners” like NBC News to provide political content on Snapchat.

Why it matters: Meta has faced pushback from creators for its decision to recommend less political content on Instagram and Threads.

In contrast, Snap is using new formats and partnerships to position itself as a trustworthy platform for political advertisers to spend money, according to Bloomberg.

➕ Community Tab

Last week, we asked if you had platform fatigue. Here’s what you said:

  • 63% of you said yes, but that you don’t want any additional platforms

  • 25% said no, you didn’t feel overdone by platforms. 

Some of our favorite responses:

“I feel like the older I get the more I miss how wide and big the internet used to feel. Niche interests online used to feel like I'm hanging out with my friends. Now not really.” —Pako M. 

I deleted my Twitter and TikTok accounts last year. The only social platforms I use now are Reddit and Instagram for about 30 minutes a day.” —Tobias S.

“More isn’t the answer, just some quality control.” —Andrew O.

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