Taking on the world’s largest content giants is no easy feat, but a Sydney storytelling startup says it is reaching “well in excess” of 2 million people a month with its new content streaming platform that is not yet six months old.
Kontented founder and chief executive Kate Edwards says Snackable TV, launched by Kontented in November last year, is aiming to be the “Netflix of short-form content for young people” and is growing 30% month-on-month.
“It’s not smash and go traffic — our return users are really high,” Edwards tells StartupSmart.
The platform, which features a range of short films, video and podcast stories, will be powered by a team of creative “predators”, says Edwards, who are one-man-band content creators who can produce, edit, direct and shoot.
In February, Kontented was granted a $300,000 loan from Jobs for New South Wales to expand its team to 50 full-time staff within the next three years. It currently has 15 employees, up from five in December 2016.
“We’re content creators first and foremost and believe in the craft [of] storytelling,” Edwards says.
She wants Snackable TV to be a “safe place” for audiences aged 13 to 30 to consume short and interesting “human” stories while enabling big brands to reach this market in creative ways.
Edwards hopes to see Snackable TV content distributed through a wide range of avenues from inflight entertainment to PlayStations and Xboxes.
Solving the question of content and “ROI”
Together with co-founder and partner in life Shae Constantine, Edwards has spent the past six years trying to solve the “big giant question mark around ROI”.
With Kontented boasting clients like Optus and Sony Music, Edwards says the key “disparity” for its customers who would love to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on content is the return on investment this commitment will bring.
With Snackable TV, Edwards says, Kontented now has a powerful and highly engaged niche audience, which when combined with great content, can add real value for its corporate clients.
“My job as the CEO is to prove the commercial model works,” she says.
While the platform will not have ads, pop-ups and page take-overs, Edwards says Kontented will work with clients to develop thoughtful content that appeals to the target market.
To guide this, she says, Kontented has five creative pillars. At the top of the list is that content on the platform must be “edutaining” so viewers learn something from everything they watch.
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“Anyone with a really great human story catapults to the top,” she says.
Back yourself when things get tough
Building a global platform and taking on tech giants is no easy feat but what has helped Edwards stay on track is being “well-researched”, focusing on the niche audience, and not being swayed to “be more things to more people”.
“Don’t give up,” she says.
“There are about a million times at which you can give up and you think you should give up.
“I have a 21-month-old son as well and three companies … You run out of cash and you’re not sure why you do it any more.”
But backing yourself in these dark hours is where real power emerges, she says.
“I say to my co-founder and husband Shae Constantine, we’ve just got to strap in, it’s a wild ride,” she says.