Some Data: Big Kickstarter Projects By Famous People Actually Help Other Projects

from the real-data-debunking-bogus-theories dept

Last week, in writing about the silly backlash to Zach Braff's successful Kickstarter project, we noted that he claimed he had the data that showed his success did not take away from other Kickstarter projects, but rather it appeared that Braff brought a lot of new people to Kickstarter, many of whom went on to fund other projects. But still, the ridiculous arguments persisted that somehow famous people using Kickstarter take away money from upstarts. It's as if these people don't understand what a non-zero sum game is. They assume, incorrectly, that if one (famous) person is succeeding, it means one (non-famous) person is not. Perhaps the worst example of this was a piece by Reginald Nelson at TheWrap which ridiculously attacks Kickstarter's founders, arguing that these moves harm "the creative class."

To (hopefully) put an end to such ridiculousness, Kickstarter itself has shared the analytics and data that Braff was talking about concerning the impact of his project (as well as the Veronica Mars project, which is the other big one that some people have complained about):
The Veronica Mars and Zach Braff projects have brought tens of thousands of new people to Kickstarter. 63% of those people had never backed a project before. Thousands of them have since gone on to back other projects, with more than $400,000 pledged to 2,200 projects so far. Nearly 40% of that has gone to other film projects.

We’ve seen this happen before. Last year we wrote a post called Blockbuster Effects that detailed the same phenomenon in the Games and Comics categories. Two big projects brought tons of new people to Kickstarter who went on to back more than 1,000 other projects in the following weeks, pledging more than $1 million. Projects bring new backers to other projects. That supports our mission too.
I'd hope this puts to rest the ridiculous claims, but somehow, I doubt it will (and the comments on the Kickstarter blog post suggest people will still complain anyway).


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  1.  
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    Alana (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 3:22pm

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 4:03pm

    Like I've said before, high profile projects funded by sources like kickstarter show the viability of not having to rely on the big entertainment conglomerate to be able to be successful, while simultaneously lessening their control over existing talent as well.

    Personally I wish more "big name" talent would use Kickstarter, because each one that does weakens the major studios and labels control.

     

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  3.  
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    jameshogg (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 4:10pm

    Ahh, yes. Even as a raging Leftie, I cannot help but praise the free market philosophy here. Crowdfunding is for both indie artists AND mainstream artists.

    In fact, on this issue, it is one of those very rare occasions where I WANT the counter-culture to become the over-the-counter-culture. Because the sooner crowdfunding becomes the mainstream way of financing artists, the better. It will be fun to see copyright believers attempt to dismiss it. A way of funding artists' fruits of labour that DOESN'T depend on copyright, and does not come with any liberty compromises? Nooooo? It COULDN'T be? AND derivative artist's fruits of labour are protected to boot? GET OUT!

    Yes indeed: the words "capitalism" and "revolution" can be uttered in the same breath.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 4:14pm

    It shouldn't matter if the person is famous or not, if it have money or not, what should matter is what he has to offer and how much work he is putting in it to happen, that is all that matters in the end.

    Competition is a good thing, in an open platform even the participants of the MAFIAA should get a chance to be what they want to be, even if somehow some famous person have took market share from smaller projects somehow that is not a bad thing, it shows people that they need to work harder to compete, trying to protect the smaller guys in this manner is not helpful it doesn't create the right environment for growth and improvement, it does the opposite.

     

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  5.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 15th, 2013 @ 4:17pm

    Re:

    Yes, I think people may start to become cynical if they see this happening routinely. Kickstarter just becomes another PR device for the major studios, which many have suspected all along.

    From the article link you posted:

    "Basically, the issue here is that Braff's intentions to subvert the studio system and do things his own way without interference from a financial backer don't seem genuine at all now."

     

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  6. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, May 15th, 2013 @ 4:23pm

    May "puts to rest the ridiculous claims", but what about the FIVE PERCENT?

    Apparently Mike considers it new'n'mazing that celebrities will draw to a site. After all, we're in... the internet age! Never in the past has a celebrity brought people to a physical place.

    Meanwhile, the unconscionable SKIM at Kickstarter goes on. Every $1 million in projects nets $50,000 to Kickstarter for a little bit of automated bookkeeping and money transfers. That's a far higher profit/cost ratio than companies that produce everyday commodities such as food. And mainly, Kickstarter disproves Mike's notion that "sunk (or fixed) costs" are any gauge for how much can be gouged. Succes on "teh internets" just a matter of promoting sucker schemes -- Kickstarter has no product, and quite literally re-distributes.


    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up same place!
    http://techdirt.com/
    Every "new business model" here requires first getting valuable products -- especially money and labor -- for free.
    12:23:39[n-530-3]

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 5:02pm

    Star Power

    Apply One of Show Bis's rules, Famous names on the posters draw the punters, applied to hi-tech "kick-starter", Famous names bring in the punters.

     

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    Beech, May 15th, 2013 @ 6:06pm

    Re: May "puts to rest the ridiculous claims", but what about the FIVE PERCENT?

    "Apparently Mike considers it new'n'mazing that celebrities will draw to a site. After all, we're in... the internet age! "

    That's my boy, Blue. Start off strong with the ad hom. That's gold. Totally ignore the fact that this article is written in response to a rather large segment of people who consider it unthinkable that celebrities draw crowds, not that Mike himself is amazed by it.

    "Never in the past has a celebrity brought people to a physical place."

    Not sure if this is supposed to be sarcasm, or regular OotB crazy. I think it's supposed to be sarcasm, but i wouldn't put it past the guy to REALLY be that crazy.

    "Meanwhile, the unconscionable SKIM at Kickstarter goes on."

    What?! A kickstarter scandal you say?! This is the first I'm hearing of it!

    " Every $1 million in projects nets $50,000 to Kickstarter for a little bit of automated bookkeeping and money transfers."

    HAHAHA. That? They are a business. People make money going on kickstarter. If they thought they could fund their projects somewhere else they would have done that. Kickstarter is more than a money wiring service, otherwise all these people would be turning to Western Union to get funded. Kickstarter provides eyeballs, excitement, a platform, a bit of curation. Same as when people make the argument that Apple is EVIL for making money off of iTunes sales because they dont DO anything for it, besides delivering a large audience, hosting, payment processing, etc.

    "And mainly, Kickstarter disproves Mike's notion that "sunk (or fixed) costs" are any gauge for how much can be gouged. Succes on "teh internets" just a matter of promoting sucker schemes -- Kickstarter has no product, and quite literally re-distributes."

    Actually it sounds like a case in point for how Mike is always saying how the big studios need to be the GOOD kind of middlemen, Enablers, not Gatekeepers. Kickstarter is ENABLING. They are middlemen, providing a service that creators find valuable, else they wouldn't sign their products up on it.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: May "puts to rest the ridiculous claims", but what about the FIVE PERCENT?

    out_of_the_lube just can't stand it when the big corporations like the MPAA get competition. It shouldn't be allowed, he screams, stamping his little feet. It's as endearing as watching a retarded puppy.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 15th, 2013 @ 9:05pm

    Re: May "puts to rest the ridiculous claims", but what about the FIVE PERCENT?

    You literally have no idea what Kickstarter provides.

     

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  11.  
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    Grant, May 16th, 2013 @ 12:47am

    Re:

    That article is misleading, it is essentially a loan for the money he would get from selling the foreign rights to the movie.

    From the very beginning Zach has said that he would pay for part of the movie with foreign rights. the problem is that he doesn't get that money for some time. So in order to start shooting he took out a loan secured against proceeds generated by selling the foreign rights to the movie.

    In other words this is a loan from a bank until he gets all the money in.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 12:47am

    Re:

    And now it's being funded mostly by traditional means.

    Not actually true:

    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1869987317/wish-i-was-here-1/posts/482298

     

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  13.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 12:48am

    Re: Re:

    "Basically, the issue here is that Braff's intentions to subvert the studio system and do things his own way without interference from a financial backer don't seem genuine at all now."

    If you actually understood what happened you would know this statement is absolutely false.

     

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  14.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 2:00am

    Re: May "puts to rest the ridiculous claims", but what about the FIVE PERCENT?

    ootb again being OFFENDED by the fact that a service provider gets paid for the service they provide! Learn what Kickstarter actually does, you blithering moron. Hey, set up your own company if the money's that easy!

    I bet you're just angry because you can't accuse them of piracy like the other companies you lie about, but your obsessive insane hatred of Mike won't let you admit that a company he likes down good work.

     

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  15.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 2:03am

    Re: Re:

    One thing I am curious about is the fact that some people have assumed that crowdfunding would totally pay for a TV show, movie, or album in advance and then after completed it would be made available for free at the usual online outlets. (That point came up when I suggested that a subscription to content on YouTube could be thought of as similar to a contribution for content on Kickstarter.)

    Now both the Veronica Mars film and the Braff film are entering into more traditional distribution deals where the completed product is not going to be made available for free. In the Mars case the movie studio and in the Braff case the foreign rights purchasers are planning to charge for these films.

    Isn't that still working with the traditional Hollywood system? Fans are putting up the money for part of these projects, but they aren't covering enough of the total cost that the creators are free to by-pass the Hollywood system altogether.

    And I think that is why some people have seen these Kickstarter projects as ways for Hollywood to generate some pre-release publicity rather than a true break from the Hollywood system.

     

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  16.  
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    Alana (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 2:12am

    Re: Re:

    Huh, interesting.

     

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  17.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 2:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "some people have assumed"

    Then some people are morons. Unless it's stated specifically in the project that the resulting product will be released free of charge, there's no reason to assume this - if you understand how Kickstarter actually works. If people have assumed otherwise, they're wrong.

    I've just donated $60 to a movie production. It's a production that not only would not get funded traditionally, but is partially inspired by the poor treatment its creators have received at the hands of the studios. It's not being 100% funded by the Kickstarter funds, as is made abundantly clear, but the money is necessary for production to begin. If successful, I get a free copy of the movie among other extras. There's no reason to assume that anyone who didn't donate will get a free copy. It will be sold through normal channels, and as far as I'm concerned its creators deserve every penny they make as a result.

    This discussion really would be helped by people looking at the reality of how Kickstarter works, not attacking fictional assumptions.

     

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  18.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 2:58am

    Re:

    "Personally I wish more "big name" talent would use Kickstarter, because each one that does weakens the major studios and labels control."

    Not only that but it will also increase the visibility of the platform (and crowd funding generally) to the public and creators/innovators.

     

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  19.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 3:03am

    Re: Re: May "puts to rest the ridiculous claims", but what about the FIVE PERCENT?

    Imagine how he feels about Pledgemusic. A portion of money earned goes to the site AND to a charity of the musician's choice.

    Those damn thieving charities grifting money they did not earn.

     

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  20.  
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    Arsik Vek (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 4:35am

    Big names getting into Kickstarter are fantastic. I discovered it during the Project: Eternity kickstarter, and have gone on to pledge almost $5k across 14 projects.

     

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  21.  
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    Pragmatic, May 16th, 2013 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: May "puts to rest the ridiculous claims", but what about the FIVE PERCENT?

    Indeed, Blue seems to think that only companies she approves of should be permitted to make a profit. I say good luck to Kickstarter. It does exactly what it says on the tin and provides a way for creatives to be paid for their work...

    ...Hang on a mo, isn't that Blue's apparent beef? That creatives are being "stolen" from by eeeevillll pirates?

    The idea of the aforementioned alleged reprobates actually paying for the content they want, bypassing the traditional, IP-enforcing gatekeepers is the problem.

    Blue's real beef is that Mike is promoting non-IP methods of paying creatives and since this contradicts her stated position, it's driving her nuts. Watch her loopiness increase as Kickstarter grows. I would buy tickets to the show on the day the **AAs are finally put out of our misery by this innovative solution. She might spontaneously combust!

     

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  22.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Then some people are morons. Unless it's stated specifically in the project that the resulting product will be released free of charge, there's no reason to assume this - if you understand how Kickstarter actually works. If people have assumed otherwise, they're wrong.

    Yes, I think that is an important point. Giving to a Kickstarter project could still mean the project is going to be developed and marketed the way non-Kickstarter projects are going to be developed and marketed. The fact that the fans are involved in the beginning may amount to just that and nothing more. The project itself could still be mostly just part of the old Hollywood system.

     

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  23.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 9:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And I think that's what some observers are watching closely. To what extent will Kickstarter actually change Hollywood? If the project creators have been part of the traditional Hollywood system and if they are turning the project over to the traditional Hollywood system (which then dictates how the project will be made and/or distributed it), then it's still, for all intents and purposes, a traditional Hollywood project with some fan-driven PR at the onset.

     

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  24.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), May 16th, 2013 @ 10:49am

    In the future we will all buy our movie tickets before the movie is even made.

    Instead of pitching a story to a studio executive, you'll just pitch it to the public.

    Many will fail to properly execute their pitch, and people will be disappointed with the final films. They will not get their next project funded.

    But a handful will impress and be able to deliver great films that will lead to more funding for future projects - these will be the filmmakers of the future.

     

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  25.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 12:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, we'll see, but I don't see what the problem is as long as it's out in the open. Half the criticisms seem to be outright misdirection or misunderstanding of what's going on. Zack Braff's project, for example, stated upfront that on top of his own money, the project would also be funded by foreign sales among other things - indicating a standard release. Anyone who didn't catch that just didn't read it properly.

    But, so what? The fact that Hollywood may be involved somewhere and that a traditional release method is used doesn't stop totally independent releases. Public involvement in the development process might actually lead to better product (people paying for what they want to see made rather than what some marketing drone assumes). Independent productions can still thrive, and Kickstarter's not the only game in town if people don't like that.

    I can understand some of the criticisms, but to my mind it's a lot of worrying over nothing, while the wider changes to the industry that crowdfunding encourages can only be a good thing in the long term.

     

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  26.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 1:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, we'll see, but I don't see what the problem is as long as it's out in the open.

    Yes, that is important.

    I've seen it in the music industry. There were a number of musicians "discovered" online who were already signed to a label and it was just a marketing ploy. After awhile, people caught on to the fact that it was mostly PR BS.

    Similarly, there have been "indie" music labels which are actually owned by the major labels. People caught on to that, too.

    And now people are writing books about how they manipulated YouTube to create "viral" videos. They are explaining how the game is played.

    People are waiting to see if the same tactics are going to be used with Kickstarter.

    In addition, the nature of crowdfunding leads people to ask tougher questions because they develop a sense of ownership in the project. When Palmer raised a ton of money and then said she still didn't have enough to pay her guest musicians, people were skeptical.

    Crowdfunding isn't the typical relationship with consumers. People want to know where their money is going to. If there is any question or if you botch the project, many of them are going to hold you accountable.

    I like crowdfunding and I like crowdsourcing, and I hope that as we begin thinking of ourselves as participants in all of these things, we find ways to make sure these really are the crowds' projects, not just what the creators want funded.

     

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  27.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), May 17th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A big reason I want complete transparency is so that those aspiring to get their projects made know how the system really works.

    If, for example, you're working within a system and already have lots of contacts who pull strings for you, but you pretend that you've done it all on your own, then others who want to do what you have done may follow the path they think you took only to find out it was the wrong one.

    I've seen it happen quite a bit with music. What goes on behind the scenes is different than the "public" story. What is in the artist and project bio is a pretend story that gets lots of coverage but doesn't match reality.

    So if people ask who is involved in a Kickstarter project, where all the money comes from and a complete accounting of how it is spent, I think that is fantastic. Everyone can learn from this.

     

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  28.  
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    nasch (profile), May 19th, 2013 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The project itself could still be mostly just part of the old Hollywood system.

    Given away for free and part of the old Hollywood system are not the only two possibilities.

     

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