Archive for June 10th, 2019:

Mailchimp Is Making Original Content Now, Because Why Not?

If you hear “Mailchimp” and instantly think of emails, you’re not alone. But as of today, the company best known for sending billions of business missives is no longer only an email marketing service. Now, with new venture Mailchimp Presents, it’s also content production hub and streaming service — or, a self-described “digital business entertainment platform.”

Mailchimp Presents launched today with more than 50 pieces of content produced by Mailchimp. That content — produced with partners like VICE, Pineapple Street Media, Scout Productions (Netflix’s Queer Eye), and Caviar (Nymphomaniac) — includes original scripted and unscripted shortform series, films, and podcasts.

All Mailchimp Presents originals are designed to both entertain and inspire the world’s small businesses and entrepreneurs. Dozens more pieces of content are due to be added in the latter half of this year, some original and some licensed.

In a statement, the company described Mailchimp Presents, which is free to watch, as a “major investment,” but didn’t reveal how much it’s taken to get Presents off the ground. It did reveal that in addition to partnering with the above folks, it hired a brand-new content production team and is working with directors Jason Woliner (What We Do in the Shadows), Hrishikesh Hirway (Everything Sucks!), writer Samin Nosrat (Salt Fat Acid Heat), actor Jay Duplass (Prospect), and actor/composer Big Boi (Someone Great).

As for where Mailchimp’s getting the dough to make that major investment…it brought in $600 million in revenue last year and recently told TechCrunch (amidst promoting its other fresh venture, a new marketing platform) that it’s due to bring in $700 million this year. Those revenues come from 11 million active customers, who send more than one billion emails each and every day. Mailchimp also facilitates more than 1.25 million ecommerce orders per day through marketing campaigns sent through its platform, the company says.

Here’s more info on what exactly Mailchimp Presents is offering, with official loglines:

Available Now

  • Unlikely Business Lessons: Unscripted series uncovering valuable business lessons from remarkably unexpected people.
  • Trade Show Show: Scripted mockumentary, directed by showrunner Jason Woliner, about a trade show and the characters and businesses that attend it.

Original Content Coming Soon

  • WERRRK!: 12-episode business makeover show from the creators and producers of Queer Eye. Three business experts (the WERRRK Force) work with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help get them to the next level.
  • Outer Monologues: Animated series, co-produced with Pop-Up Magazine, featuring public figures (Jay Duplass, Molly Bingham) who share what was really going on during moments in their lives when they seemed stoic and put together.
  • Second Act: Unscripted series, co-produced by VICE, profiling people who switched careers to become entrepreneurs. Features Deborah and Mary Jones of Jones BBQ, who were on the third season of Queer Eye.
  • Lifecycle of a Business: 6-episode This American Life-style podcast featuring businesses at different stages in the business lifecycle.

Licensed Content Coming Soon

  • 73 Cows: A farmer in the UK gives up his beef herd to pursue organic vegan farming. Winner of the 2019 BAFTA for Best British Short.
  • The Exceptionally Extraordinary Emporium: A short documentary about the family-owned Louisiana fabric store that serves as ground zero for Mardi Gras costume designers.
  • Crown Candy: Short documentary that offers an artful look into a 100-year-old candy store that plans to stay put in its rapidly changing North St. Louis neighborhood.
  • Hands on a Hardbody: A cult classic feature documentary that follows 24 contestants while they compete in an endurance/sleep deprivation contest to win a brand new Nissan Hardbody truck.
  • Bacon and God’s Wrath: Short documentary about a 90-year-old Jewish woman who, after undergoing a crisis of faith which has led her to reject many of the tenets of her religion, is preparing to cook and eat bacon for the first time.

You can check out Mailchimp Presents at its landing page here.

Jojo Siwa Makeup Kit Recalled From Claire’s After Testing Positive For Asbestos

JoJo Siwa may be criss-crossing the country on her national D.R.E.A.M. tour, but the 16-year-old is currently ensconced in controversy surrounding her vast and oft-boasted-about merchandise empire.

A JoJo-branded makeup kit vended at teen retailer Claire’s has been recalled after testing positive for asbestos, People reports. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning on social media about the recall of the heart-shaped kit (see below), which contains eyeshadow, lip gloss, and nail polish. The FDA also said in a notice that consumers who purchased the makeup set should cease usage immediately.

The recall of the Siwa kit arrives just three months after several other Claire’s products were also yanked from shelves because they were found to contain asbestos, People reports. Asbestos refers to naturally occurring silicate minerals that, if inhaled, can lead to critical lung illnesses, including cancer.

Siwa, who licenses products in a wide variety of categories and vends them at myriad top-tier retailers — including Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s has yet to comment on the recall. In addition to makeup, Siwa currently sells a variety of other items at Claire’s, including hair accessories, planners, backpacks, sunglasses, and more.

Creators Can’t Always Take Risks With Their Content. That’s Why YouTuber Community Standard Built Nebula — A Platform For Its Creators To Experiment.

Many a creator will tell you: on YouTube, the algorithm rules all.

That’s why some YouTubers feel there’s a risk inherent in deviating from the content that drew in the bulk of their subscribers. They worry putting out new types of content will cause a drop in views, and therefore a drop in AdSense revenue, and perhaps a drop in subscribers…which could all ultimately culminate in a potential loss of favor with the algorithm and a big blow to their careers.

But for the 75 YouTube creators who are part of streamer community Standard, exploratory content has a new platform. That platform, a recently soft-launched subscription service called Nebula, is not meant to replace those creators’ YouTube channels — instead, it’s meant to complement them.

“The YouTube algorithm is designed to keep people clicking on things in a way that benefits watch time, and benefits the platform,” Dave Wiskus, Standard’s founder and CEO, tells Tubefilter. “If you try to make things other than what YouTube expects from you, and your experiment doesn’t do so hot, then suddenly the algorithm doesn’t pay as much attention to you as it used to.”

Standard isn’t a multichannel network, or a creative agency, or a management company. It’s something different. Wiskus, along with co-founders Philipp Dettmer (aka Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell on YouTube with 8.9 million subscribers) and CGP Grey (3.8 million), started Standard as a self-described “toolbox” for “thoughtful content” creators that supplies its members with production resources, design guidance, career mentorship, sponsorship opportunities, and data like channel engagement analytics.

Standard’s also meant to be a community. Its creators (like the aforementioned Dettmer and Grey, along with Lindsay Ellis, T1J, Braincraft, and dozens more) hang out with one another in a lively and collaborative Slack channel, and all seem to share a pensive ethos that manifests through well-researched content uploaded to YouTube at a much longer cadence than is conventionally thought to be effective, with intervals between videos ranging from weeks to months.

In exchange for all the resources and helping to facilitate a positive, collaborative community and environment, Standard doesn’t take any portion of its creators’ general AdSense revenue. Instead, the company only gets paid when it hooks its creators up with brand partners whose products and ethics match their overall content direction. SkillshareCuriosityStream, and Audible are just a few recent advertisers that have executed campaigns with the company’s creators.

On YouTube, Standard’s creators reach a total audience of more than 50 million people. The support Standard offers generally goes toward making the content a that audience expects to watch. To be clear, finding a content niche and sticking to it isn’t an inherently negative thing, but when that niche becomes restrictive, it causes problems for creators, Wiskus says.

Creators who make fresh, exploratory content but don’t find the audience for it can feel pressured to go back to safer, expected content, and are being “encouraged — almost demanded — to stay in their lane and not make waves,” he explains.

Nebula is designed to reward creators for the amount of time viewers spend watching their passion projects.

With Nebula, Standard is both expanding its relationship with its creators and giving them a place to test the waters with wavemaking content.

For Standard, designing a platform for risk-taking, exploratory content started with changing up the economics of the platform. None of Nebula’s content is free to watch, but there also aren’t any ads. The bulk of consistent revenue will come from subscribers, who pay $5 per month (or $50 annually) to access Nebula’s library of original content and the vast majority of its 75 or so creators’ back catalogs ported over from YouTube. Incoming revenue pays Nebula’s basic operating costs, and then is split — 50% goes to Standard, and 50% goes to creators based on watch time.

Here’s how that works: Nebula creators aren’t paid based on views. (The total number of views videos get actually isn’t publicly displayed on Nebula at all.) Each month, creators’ 50% chunk of subscription fees is put into a pool. The total amount of time watched on the platform is also put into a pool. Each creator is then paid out an amount proportional to the total amount of watch time they garnered.

So, if one creator posted a very widely-viewed video, and brought in 75% of Nebula’s total watch time that month, they would take 75% of the pool. If a creator earned 3% of Nebula’s watch time, they’d take 3%. (if this structure sounds familiar, it’s the same kind of calculus YouTube publicly reports to use in its allocation of YouTube Premium revenues.)

Nebula launched with two original series from three of Standard’s partner YouTubers.

As for exactly what kind of fresh content is going to be available on Nebula, three of Standard’s creators have created a total of about three hours of launch content exclusive to the platform — called ‘Nebula Originals’ — that’s already available for viewing at, and through the service’s iOS app.

The folks behind that launch content chatted with Tubefilter about why they’re keen to use Nebula as a complement to their YouTube fare.

Jon Taylor Chapman and Joseph Pisenti each run their own educational channels on YouTube. Chapman runs Second Thought (705K subscribers), which tackles scientific and existential questions. Pisenti runs RealLifeLore (3 million), which answers science, history, geography, and economics questions you probably never thought to ask, and recently-started channel FakeLifeLore (1.3K), which covers similar topical ground, except in the video game space.

Together, and in partnership with Standard, the duo are creating educational series Grand Test Auto for Nebula. (Its name is a play on popular vehicular video game franchise Grand Theft Auto.) Like their YouTube content, Grand Test Auto is educational, but it’s more of a “traditional car review” format, they tell Tubefilter. They’re both car fanatics, so it’s something they’ve been wanting to try, but neither of them felt their YouTube channels were a fit for it.

“Without diluting what our brands are on YouTube, this will allow us to kind of give it a test run,” Pisenti says. “And if it does well, which we suspect it will, because we’re both very proud of it, we can port it to YouTube as a standalone YouTube channel and say, ‘Hey, listen, we have original content on a brand-new service, it’s got a bunch of viewers, and we think you guys will like it.’”

Chapman adds that he sees Nebula as a “way to break the kind unhealthy relationship that we’ve built at YouTube, where we’re dependent on them.”

As for the third creator who’s part of Nebula’s launch lineup, that’s Noah Lefevre. He’s behind Polyphonic (484K), a channel that posts bimonthly video essays covering pop culture, with a focus on music. Lefevre says he’s primarily excited for Nebula because he’s found himself frustrated with YouTube’s policies on copyrighted music and demonetization.

Since all of Nebula’s content creators are also part of (and thus pre-vetted by) Standard, and plan to make much of their content for Nebula in coordination with Standard, demonetization of videos isn’t something Nebula has incorporated into its structure. For Lefevre, that promise of no demonetization is a huge relief.

“YouTube’s whole copyright system is insanely flawed and doesn’t allow for room for fair use,” he says. “Fair use is the legal framework that allows me to make so many of my videos, because I’m commmenting on the songs or artists in question. But what usually happens for me is I’ll need to upload a video two or three times. Often it’ll get copyright flagged or sometimes just blocked outright because I have a three-second sample of a Beatles song in it or something.”

Lefevre’s Nebula Original is a three-episode miniseries about English rock legend Led Zeppelin’s most epic hits — essentially a longer-form version of his YouTube content. The series involves fair use of contextualizing samples of Led Zeppelin’s music for the audience to enjoy. You can see a 10-minute teaser for the series below:

Lefevre also says the community of creators Standard has built appeals to him, because in the future, he wants to use Nebula to debut social justice-oriented content. His hard-rock-loving audience on YouTube “isn’t exactly the most open-minded,” so videos he’s done about feminism and social issues haven’t done well on his channel. “I feel like part of the package deal with Nebula is, with this so baked into what Standard does, it’ll attract people who are more open” to social justice content, he says.

During our conversation, Wiskus specifically notes Standard seeks out marginalized creators, and that Nebula subscribers can expect to see content from Standard partners like Trina from msbeautyphile (6.4k) and Michael Tucker of Lessons from the Screenplay (one million). Grand Test Auto and Lefevre’s series are just the beginning of Nebula’s planned programming. Dettmer, Grey, and Trina, as well as several of Standard’s other creators, all have series planned for debut over the next few months.

Ultimately, Wiskus says, Nebula is “completely curated, smart, thoughtful content. One-stop shopping for all of the smartest stuff on video.”

You can check out the service by going to, or by downloading its iOS app from the App Store.

Netflix’s ‘Love, Death & Robots’ Gets Second Season Helmed By Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Netflix has brought on a female director for the newly-announced second season of its animated anthology series Love, Death & Robots.

The season will be helmed by animation veteran Jennifer Yuh Nelson, who, with her work on DreamWorksKung Fu Panda 2, became the first woman to direct an animated film for a major Hollywood studio. Nelson also directed Kung Fu Panda 3 and recently made her live-action directorial debut with young adult thriller The Darkest Minds. Before she became a director, she worked as head of story on Kung Fu Panda, and as a story artist on Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and Madagascar.

Love, Death & Robots’ first season comprised 18 unconnected animated sci-fi shorts from 18 different teams of animators around the world. The series drew attention when Netflix confirmed the series was its first experiment with randomized episode order. The streamer had shuffled up four different episode orders to see how viewers would respond; which order any particular user got was up to chance.

Tubefilter reached out to Netflix to see if Love, Death & Robots’ second season will also involve randomized shorts. A Netflix representative says the company doesn’t have any information about episode order at this time.

It is worth noting that while Love, Death & Robots garnered interest for Netflix’s new approach to switching things up for viewers, its shorts also drew criticism for including sexist tropes, gratuitous, sometimes abusive sex scenes, and stories framed for the male gaze. Bringing in a female director may be an attempt to avoid repeating the series’ fatal flaws in its second season.

Netflix has not yet announced a premiere date.

Emma Chamberlain Says She Spends Up To 30 Hours Editing Each Of Her Weekly Vlogs

Curious about how much back-end work goes into each video compiled by one of YouTube’s most promising stars?

Eighteen-year-old Emma Chamberlain, who counts 7.9 million subscribers and nabbed 33 million views last month alone (during which time she published three videos), spends an outrageous amount of time editing each of her (roughly) weekly vlogs. Chamberlain typically spends between 20 to 30 hours on each video, she told fashion tome W in a recent profile.

That said, Chamberlain’s current slog marks a slight improvement over her initial pace. When she first started, Chamberlain says she spent between 30 and 40 hours editing each video. (The top end of that spectrum marks an average adult’s entire workweek). Furthermore, Chamberlain told W that she does not employ any assistant editors.

“People see me posting about once a week, and other YouTubers that they watch are posting three times a week,” she told the outlet. “But that other YouTuber probably has a team, has an editor, has a filmer, has a writer. All they have to do is appear — which, trust me, is a challenge all its own. If I’m not as consistent, it’s because I’m a machine on my own…I’ve cried multiple times after posting a video,” she continued. “It’s like giving birth. Like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s my masterpiece’. And every single video is like that for me. So much work goes into each video that I don’t know how I’m still alive.”

Despite the insane amount of labor involved, Chamberlain’s novel editing style is a big part of her success. Her mid-editing interjections — as well as slipshod special effects — have inspired many imitators, she acknowledges.

“I had never seen anyone edit the way that I edit before I did it, and it’s just what felt right to me,” she says. “It’s definitely become a popular style now, which is super cool. But I had never seen anyone else do it, and that’s why I was scared to put it out there.”

Here’s a recent upload so you can see Chamberlain’s stylistic cuts for yourself:

Quibi’s Steven Spielberg Horror Series Can Only Be Watched When It’s Dark Outside

Quibi’s reviving classic MTV shows, working with current pop culture powerhouses like Chrissy Teigen, and has signed content creation deals with lauded directors including Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) and Jason Blum (Get Out). Now, the video startup has announced another significant partnership, and it comes with a unique tech twist.

All that’s to say: acclaimed Hollywood filmmaker Steven Spielberg has signed on to write a horror series for Quibi — one that viewers will only be able to watch when it’s dark outside.

The series, tentatively titled Spielberg’s After Dark, will be 10 or 12 “chapters” long, Variety reports. For those unfamiliar, Quibi’s $1 billion-backed claim to fame is its approach to content, where series arrive in 10-minute “chapters” (Quibi’s term for episodes) meant to be consumed via smartphone.

Spielberg — who’s also developing a series for Apple’s upcoming streaming service but has been notoriously critical of streamers like Netflix — approached Quibi with the idea, Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg said yesterday at the Banff World Media Festival. However, he stipulated that he wanted the company to create something that would prevent viewers from watching it during the day.

To achieve that, Quibi engineers added a feature that tracks what time the sun rises and sets in a user’s particular location. So, if a user lives in middle Canada, where the summer sun sets at 10 p.m. and rises at 4 a.m., they have only those six hours to watch After Dark. Katzenberg explained that when users look at the series in the Quibi app during the day, they’ll see a clock ticking down the hours until they can watch the series again.

During his talk at Banff, Katzenberg also offered some additional information about Quibi. For one, when the service launches in 2020, it’ll offer users a two-week free trial period. (After that, users can subscribe at $5 per month with ads, or $8 for ad-free.) At launch time, Quibi will have eight “super premium” series — which Katzenberg referred to as “movies,” per Variety — in its library. Katzenberg and Quibi CEO Meg Whitman have previously said they plan to debut two new series per month after launch, and yesterday Katzenberg confirmed Quibi has 26 originals set to roll out every other Monday over the course of the year.

Katzenberg expects the “super premium” projects to be Quibi’s groundbreakers, like House of Cards was for Netflix and The Handmaid’s Tale was for Hulu, he said onstage.

In addition to scripted series, it’s also offering things like news content (from a division run by longtime news editor Janice Min) and non-scripted content. Katzenberg said that in total, it’ll all add up to about 125 new pieces of content per week, or 7,000 pieces during Quibi’s first year.

HBO Cancels ‘Vice News Tonight’, As Vice’s News EVP Josh Tyrangiel Departs Company

HBO has given the axe to Vice News Tonight — a three-year-old series that marked the pay channel’s’s first-ever daily show. It will end its run in September.

At the same time, the Vice exec charged with spearheading that show, Josh Tyrangiel, is departing the digital media company, The Hollywood Reporter reports. He will be replaced by New York Post chairman and CEO Jesse Angelo, who will oversee Vice’s news, digital, and television divisions in a newly-created role. Angelo will also be tasked with helping to grow Vice’s news brand via new domestic and international partners. Vice is currently shopping a daily news show to other networks and platforms, per the Reporter, and also has a news-centric series in the works at Hulu.

Despite Vice News Tonight‘s buzz, the Reporter notes that the exclusive relationship between Vice News and HBO — which was its exclusive TV distribution partner — became “fraught” when Vice launched its own television station, Viceland, in 2016.

Vice first struck a deal with HBO in 2013 for a weekly news series simply titled Vice, which went on to win two Emmys. (HBO has already opted not to renew that series). That relationship eventually gave way to multiple feature-length documentaries as well as Vice News Tonight. Vice News Tonight was garnering 500,000 viewers per episode, per the Reporter, but still struggled to break through in a crowded TV news landscape.

Tyrangiel was the editor of Bloomberg Businessweek before being recruited by Vice. He will remain with the company through the end of the month, and then transition into a consulting role. Angelo, who will report directly to Vice CEO Nancy Dubuc, will start at Vice on June 24.

Officially Pinned Pacts With Smosh’s Noah Grossman On Charitable Pin Launch

Officially Pinned, the Fine Brothers Entertainment-owned merch upstart that creates collectible enamel pics in collaboration with top YouTube stars, has announced its latest partner.

The company has teamed with Smosh cast member Noah Grossman on a pin fashioned after an avocado tree. Priced at $12, the pin features an avocado sliced in half with a tree growing out of its pit. The item also has a charitable component: $2 from every pin sold will go directly to — an international nonprofit that seeks to provide access to safe water and sanitation through affordable financing.

Officially Pinned, which was founded by digital vet Max Benator and Brooklyn-based artist Andrew Shuta, creates its own proprietary pins and also collaborates with top digital stars, including the aforementioned Fine Brothers, Shane Dawson, Sofie Dossi, Trisha Paytas, and Andrea Russett. The company has also launched a number of charitable pins — to benefit horse therapy nonprofit Equi-librium alongside Bunny ‘Graveyard Girl’ Meyer, for instance, as well as to benefit anti-sexual violence organization RAINN in collaboration with sexual assault survivor advocate Caelynn Miller-Keyes.

Grossman was added to the recurring cast of Smosh in March 2015. In addition to his appearances on the digital troupe, the 22-year-old has also appeared in the TV series Boys Are Stupid, Girls Are Mean and Part Timers. Grossman also vends merch under the Sixth Digit moniker.