Howcast Media, a New York-based operator of a website for “how-to” videos, has raised $8 million in Series A funding led by Tudor Investment Corp.
Howcast Media today launched a new site, www.howcast.com, for consumers to watch and share instructional how-to videos. It also opened its directors program for emerging filmmakers to create and contribute videos to Howcast. In addition, the company announced distribution and advertising agreements, and an $8M Series A round which is led by Tudor Investment Corporation and includes other investors.
Founded by veterans of Google and YouTube, Howcast combines the personality of user-generated content with the quality of a professional video studio. The result is engaging how-to video that appeals to consumers, as well as advertisers and distribution partners. This includes practical and entertaining videos like How to Paint a Wall, How to Get Paid for Donating Plasma How Not to Get Mugged, and more.
“Online video is generally split into two worlds: user-generated content and professional studio content,” said Jason Liebman, CEO and co-founder of Howcast. “We think there's an opportunity to bridge these worlds, and instructional video is a perfect place to start. Our viewers can suggest topics and content for videos on any subject they'd like to learn about, no matter how unique. Through our Howcast studio and our directors program, filmmakers can take all of these great user ideas and turn them into high-quality, engaging videos.”
Engaging Content and Vibrant Community
Visitors to Howcast.com can find entertaining, informative, and free how-to videos by conducting a quick keyword search or browsing across the site's 25 topic categories. These categories cover everything from broad subjects, such as cooking and fitness, to more specific topics, like origami, babycare, and more. Howcast.com also features collections of videos that are programmed around common themes, such as The College Survival Guide and Sushi Made Simple.
When watching a video, viewers can follow step by step, play them in slow motion, zoom in on certain areas, print accompanying text guides, share videos with friends, and comment or vote on their favorites. Viewers can also subscribe to free feeds featuring the latest videos on their favorite topics (e.g., Health & Nutrition) or from their favorite contributors (e.g., GardenGirl). And they can discover videos on the profile pages of individuals in Howcast's community of viewers and contributors.
Howcast.com encourages everyone from DIY enthusiasts and weekend hobbyists, to professional experts, to contribute what they know and love by suggesting new video topics, creating and editing how-to text guides, and uploading videos. Community ideas can come to life through Howcast-produced videos, as well as the Howcast Directors program, both of which leverage viewers' suggestions for the production of how-to video. Howcast-produced videos are created with producers and talent in Howcast's
The Howcast Directors Program
The Howcast Directors Program offers emerging filmmakers an opportunity to gain experience, exposure, and income by creating how-to videos. Directors can apply to the program through the Howcast website and can make videos by downloading Howcast's production elements which include subject topics, how-to text guides, graphics, music, voice-over tracks, and more. The program enables Howcast to grow its video library in a cost-effective and scalable manner while helping filmmakers build their reel, connect with other filmmakers, and get paid.
Distribution and Advertising
With video content and communities organized around specific topic categories, Howcast provides a wealth of opportunities for distribution and advertising partners.
“Howcast represents the best potential of the much-discussed long tail of internet content — part DIY Network, part Wikipedia, all wrapped up in an advertising-friendly environment,” said Tracey Scheppach, Starcom USA senior vice president/video innovations director. “We welcome working with innovative media partners to find new ways to captivate consumers by providing them informative, useful content that they seek and value, and Howcast is a contact channel where helping and catering to consumers is inherent in the model.”
Howcast has signed JetBlue Airways (www.jetblue.com) as a premier advertising sponsor of the travel category. Howcast is also working with Starcom USA, a full-service media company, to help marketers reach consumers watching Howcast-produced video with relevant and unobtrusive advertising.
Howcast videos are currently available on a variety of platforms, including web, mobile and broadcast. To date, Howcast has signed distribution agreements with Myspace, YouTube, Verizon FiOS TV, Joost, and ROO. Howcast videos are also available on the iTunes