Yes Theory Takes Streaming Into Their Own Hands

The creator group debuts Project Iceman online

Good morning. On the one-year anniversary of Ryan Trahan’s famed Penny Series, the creator shared that the video challenge wouldn’t happen again this June. “Maybe July?” he quipped in an Instagram post.

But some fans have already started to speculate whether he’s teeing up something new—Trahan’s updated YouTube channel header now has “🤨🚰” emojis. What could that mean?

Yes Theory Streams Feature Film

Project Iceman / Yes Theory

Creator group Yes Theory’s first feature film, Project Iceman, is now available to stream on their site with a pay-what-you-wish model.

We talked to Yes Theory’s head of operations, Pedro Paiva, about why the group turned down a streaming deal (for the second time) and took distribution of their new film into their own hands.

Context: From the jump, Yes Theory has taken an unconventional approach with Project Iceman.

  • They turned down a million-dollar streaming deal to produce the movie because they felt the streamer’s involvement compromised their creative vision.

  • They had nine global premieres, ran the festival circuit (picking up multiple awards along the way), and partnered with Cinemark for a multi-week U.S. theatrical release.

Now, Yes Theory is streaming the film on its own. “[Project Iceman] is the biggest production Yes Theory has ever made,” Paiva said.

“We literally invested millions to make this happen. Even though going through a streaming platform would be a guaranteed win financially and in terms of perception, it wouldn’t be a guaranteed win on our main metric, which is that our audience is able to watch this,” Paiva told us.

Other downsides to working with a streamer, per Paiva?

  • No access to view metrics.

  • Regional exclusivity that meant the movie would only be shown to certain regions at first. FYI, more than half of Yes Theory’s audience is outside the U.S.

And about the pay-what-you-wish pricing: With a $5 minimum, the model is meant to give Yes Theory’s audience an affordable way to support the film, which the group hasn't broken even on yet.

Looking ahead: Come December, the movie will live on Yes Theory’s YouTube channel to guarantee that everyone can see it. “America isn’t even half of our audience, and we end up hitting the infrastructure of a big company [like streaming platforms] because of that,” Paiva said. “Because of the fluidity that YouTube brings our business and our audience, it’s hard to get a matching business organization that has the same reach.”

YouTube Updates Policies on Election Fraud

YouTube / AFPPIX

YouTube will no longer take down videos that claim fraud occurred in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, the company confirmed to Axios last week.

Context: After the certification of the 2020 election, YouTube introduced election misinformation policies including an “integrity” clause that pledged to remove all content that suggested election results were false. The company claims to have taken down “tens of thousands” of videos that violated those policies.

But now: YouTube said it believes that keeping the election fraud policy may limit political speech “without meaningfully reducing the risk of violence or other real-world harm,” the company said in a statement.

Looking ahead: YouTube said it will share more information about 2024 U.S. election content policies in the coming months.

For now, though, the rest of the platform’s misinformation policies, such as content that aims to “mislead voters about the time, place, means, or eligibility requirements for voting,” will remain in place.

Creators On the Rise: Life of Riza

Life of Riza / YouTube

Our purpose is to cover the business of creators. And lately, we’ve been hearing tons about up-and-coming creators, who in many ways are like the startups of our industry. So starting today, we’re excited to share more creators on the rise you’ve submitted to our editorial team.

When you watch Kariza Santos (better known as “Life of Riza” on YouTube), there are two narratives at all times. One, the story she’s telling about her life; and two, the incredible attention to detail in each shot. Every vlog feels like a highly-produced indie film.

Some fast facts about Santos…

Got a suggestion for a creator on the rise? Hit reply and tell us more.

👀 Creator Moves

  • TMG Studios is hiring a results-oriented head of sales to drive revenue growth across the production company.

  • McDonald’s is hiring a marketing manager who “knows social media” and will help run the company’s accounts.

  • Billy (@8illy across channels) is looking for a designer who can make engaging, clickable YouTube thumbnails.

🔥 Press Worthy

  • Coffeezilla kicks off a three-part investigative series into Traders Domain, a brokerage firm he claims to be a Ponzi scheme.

  • Emma Chamberlain raises $7 million to fund the retail expansion of Chamberlain Coffee.

  • Twitter’s head of brand safety and ad quality resigns.

  • Logan Paul uses AI to make a Prime ad in under 30 seconds.

  • Cohen Thompson is one week into a 48-day journey finding the best ice cream in the U.S.

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