- The creator-centric streaming service Nebula was founded in 2019 by Dave Wiskus.
- The streamer was valued at $ 50 million in September thanks to an investment from Curiosity Stream.
- Now, his stable of video essayists like Legal Eagle and Wendover Productions are launching online courses.
Nebula, a focused creator
a platform that counts around 160 medium-sized videographers such as Kat Blaque and Philosophy Tube as partners, wants to become a hub for online education.
The three-year company, valued at $ 50 million in September as part of an equity investment in non-fiction streaming service Curiosity Stream, is launching a new format: “Nebula + Classi.”
Nebula’s core service offers subscribers ad-free YouTube videos, bonus and original internally produced content. Now, it will expand as some creators, including game-centric LowSpecGamer and music reviewers Volkgeist and Aimee Nolte Music, launch 60-minute multi-chapter courses for Nebula members.
Lawtuber Legal Eagle (2.25 million subscribers) will educate viewers on “How to sue like a lawyer”, for example, while travel and geography-focused Wendover Productions (5.5 million subscribers) will lead “Mastering Everyday Persuasion “.
Nebula founder Dave Wiskus told Insider that given the company’s favorable position in mid-sized niche vloggers (10,000 to 500,000 views per video) analyzing various regions of nerdy culture, online courses seemed like a natural extension.
Startup Masterclass, which achieved a valuation of $ 2.75 billion last May, popularized the celebrity-led online course format. The format was later adopted by the likes of Studio (which offers YouTuber-led courses such as Casey Neistat, Pentatonix, and Simone Giertz). Many creators are also pocketing serious money by leveraging third-party platforms like Kajabi, Teachable, and Maven to host and sell their courses.
Although the Nebula + classes are exclusive to those within its fleet, the company covers all associated manufacturing costs and is paying the creators a salary as the format takes off.
Curiosity Stream is an important part of Nebula’s activity
Wiskus, a high school dropout and full-fledged content creator, founded Nebula’s parent company, Standard, in 2013. Standard is a
agency that works with YouTuber to secure deals with the brand, as well as on other services such as merchandising and content strategy. It has 80 employees, 30 of whom are dedicated to Nebula.
Nebula’s business is also deeply tied to Curiosity Stream, the publicly traded non-fiction streaming service founded by Discovery Channel veteran John Hendricks. Like Nebula, Curiosity Stream focuses on “edutainment”, with an eye on science, nature and history. It has 23 million subscribers and recorded revenue of $ 71.3 million last year.
The relationship began as a marketing pact, whereby Curiosity Stream paid Nebula streamers to shout its service in their YouTube videos, and then bundled Nebula free access when viewers signed up for it. a subscription to Curiosity Stream, which is currently priced at $ 3 per month. (Nebula declined to disclose how much Curiosity Stream pays for each bundled user.)
Nebula as a standalone service is currently priced at $ 5 per month. With the addition of Classes, the service will increase the subscription price for all users to $ 10 per month. (Current subscribers won’t see the price increase until January 2023, however.) Curiosity Stream will offer the lessons for an additional $ 5.
When asked why a viewer might choose to pay for the more expensive Nebula standalone subscription rather than subscribe to the Curiosity Stream package, Wiskus noted that the main spur of paying for Nebula for many subscribers was to show support for their favorite creators.
But he said most users choose the Curiosity Stream package. In fact, the money from Curiosity Stream’s sponsorship accounts for the bulk of Nebula’s revenue, and the bundled accounts comprise the vast majority of its roughly 500,000 subscribers.
Wiskus also said that Curiosity Stream has increased payments to Nebula creators who do promotions for its service.
“Creators who used to earn $ 2,000 for a sponsorship now earn $ 200,000 for sponsorship,” Wiskus said.
Get paid “4 times to do a job”
The ownership structure of Nebula is a bit complicated.
Standard (which is owned by Wiskus and around 30 creators) owns a majority stake in Nebula, with Curiosity Stream taking the minority stake in September.
An agreement provides that if Nebula is acquired in full or by majority, 50% of the proceeds will go to the current creators on the platform. Standard and Curiosity Stream would then divide the other 50%.
In addition to earnings from standard-organized trademark deals, Nebula creators also receive 50% of monthly subscription profits, which are split based on the amount of watch time they drive. Wiskus said Nebula is profitable.
“So it’s like we’re going to pay you to do something, we will pay you to promote that thing and we will pay you when people look at the thing that we promoted – and then, in the end, if it ever gets sold, you get some of the money,” he said. Wiskus. “So you get paid four times to do a job … The whole system is designed in a way that all roads lead back to the creator’s income.”