Crowd Funding for an Audience, Not Cash

By 04/22/2011
Crowd Funding for an Audience, Not Cash

Content creators know about crowd funding. Sites like Kickstarer and IndeiGoGo allow individuals and companies the opportunity to raise cash from friends, family, and the intrigued in order to get productions off the ground.

For the uninformed, here’s the basics of how it works:

Someone who’s high on realizing a dream but low on funds starts a campaign on a crowd funding site. He or she explains the project and solicits contributions in various dollar denominations. Each dollar denomination corresponds to an object of appreciation (like DVDs, signed DVDs, special credits, secret footage, lunch with the director, a home cooked meal with the cast, and so on, and so forth). People then donate money to the project. If enough people donate to the project and the project meets its funding goals, everyone who donated receive objects of appreciation corresponding to how much cash they contributed.

It’s a win-win. The content creator gets money to make his or her creation and people who pledged get something special for their support. And that’s almost exactly but not quite what J. Sibley Law is doing for his latest venture in web television, TangoDango.

“It’s a channel that will run five web series a week, with a different one each day of the week,” Law explained over e-mail. “We’re producing three shows – Uncle Vic’s Kitchen, News for Blondes, and Splatter – and partnered with Up On the Roof for Scenes from the Movies and writer Jack Rushen on a comedy variety show…These will all run at least through September and we’re actively developing new work to run later in the year, all with 13-week seasons.”

That’s an ambitious plan! And to make it happen Law started an IndieGoGo campaign. I know what you’re thinking. He must be looking to raise a ton of cash in order to create a studio churning out that quantity of content, right? Probably! But that’s not what the IndieGoGo campaign is for.

Law is looking for $2,000 for TangoDango by way of 2,000 individual $1 donations. The point here isn’t to raise capital, it’s to build an audience. From the site:

We need 2,000 people (more is even better) to become part of the support network to launch TangoDango. What does that mean? Make a contribution of one dollar (more if you are so moved) and then get involved with the channel by subscribing on YouTube, become a fan on facebook, follow us on twitter, and get ready to participate in launch-week activities. We need your help to find the people who want to get on their inner TangoDango.

Yes, there’s an inherent audience building component in every crowd funded project, but I’ve never seen a project use crowd funding specifically to build an audience. It’s a pretty good idea! Law and company are building a network from scratch with individuals who have just enough skin in the game to want to help support the venture and see it succeed.

Want to get involved with TangoDango? Go here if you like the concept and have $1 to spare.