Why did Special build an independent streaming service?

Written by
Sam Lucas
 on 
February 12, 2021

What does it mean to "stream independent?"

Video streaming has become the world’s source for entertainment, information, and community. Special saw the opportunity to make an independent streaming experience that’s better for creators and their fans.

Special was created to give creators the ability to reach their audiences and create video monetization without a middle man, and to give viewers a more personalized viewing experience. To stream independent is to take advantage of direct-to-consumer, global video distribution, keeping complete control and ownership of your series and film property rights, audience data, and pricing.

How is that different from other video streaming services and SVOD?

Video streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video have surged in popularity over the past several years. People of all ages are increasingly ditching the high cost and constraining schedule of Cable TV for content they can watch whenever they want, on whichever device they have handy. These services offer incredible benefits - but they’ve also become saturated with ads and a glut of irrelevant content that makes finding what we really want painful. YouTube can bring hundreds of videos on any given topic to your fingertips, but the viewing experience is interrupted by ads before the video starts,  every few minutes throughout. Netflix has now made so many shows and movies available it’s easy to get content fatigue just scrolling through the options and trying to pick something to watch.

These streaming services look and feel different, but they have two common features: 1. None of them offer creators the ability to control their own data and fully take charge of audience monetization, and 2. None of them have offered fans a way to contribute directly to the creators they most enjoy on a platform made specifically for subscription video on demand (SVOD).

So, what got us all fired up about creating a better way to deliver and engage with content?

We wanted to give every creator large or small the ability to reach the consumer directly and enter the SVOD industry with zero friction by removing technology development, monetization, and distribution barriers. At Special, our mission is to connect creators with an unlimited global audience, on-demand. The only way to survive in the future of streaming is to own your audience and own your content. Relying on advertising revenue share, or distributors as an independent creator is not a sustainable revenue source.

Traditionally, the streaming and creator industries have been reserved for the top 1%. Special sees a "middle class of creators" emerging on our platform. For example, a nutritionist could run a niche cooking show for diabetics, retain 2,000 subscribers at $10/m and be very happy and successful with a six figure income on our independent streaming platform.The direct and consistent line to audience monetization exists without having to continually pay for advertising or losing a fan’s interest when critical moments in the video are interrupted by obnoxious, irrelevant ads.

As a team of software developers passionate about great user experiences and content worth watching, we knew there was a way to create a platform that allows viewers to support their favorite creators and to experience those videos in a way that’s easy to access, engaging, and consistent. With over 1,000 independent filmmakers and content creators using Special in beta, it’s clear this idea is a solution for people frustrated by paying fees and losing revenue to traditional video streaming services.

“We’ve learned a lot. Most notably how engaged a creators’ audience can be when given the opportunity to directly subscribe to a creator and their catalog. We are excited to officially open up access to more creators on Special and support their independent growth” - Special Project co-founder and CEO Sam Lucas.

Getting started is easy, and to put it bluntly for creators: we don’t make money until you do.

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