NextUp showcases an unparalleled range of stand-up specials, from surrealists and sketch duos to character acts and storytellers. This gives comedy fans worldwide what they truly want and fills the huge void left by the comedy DVD market.
For £3.50 a month users can access 90 shows, performed by comedy legends and rising stars on the cusp of greatness. NextUp is one of many genre-specialist services taking advantage of burgeoning video subscription market set to be worth $41bn by 2022 and the fact that services like NextUp have grown 1000% since 2012.
1. The S-VoD market is booming.
2. Based on the increasing popularity of the Edinburgh Fringe, we believe that the demand for stand-up comedy is rising.
3. We believe there's a void to be filled following the comedy DVD market's decline due to shifting viewing habits.
4. First mover advantage, as to our knowledge, there is no company with the same product.
Despite only launching in November 2016, NextUp has already gained 1700 monthly subscribers, was made Apple’s ‘App of the Day’ and has attracted the former President of MGM as an investor and Senior Advisor.
For over 10 years, the NextUp founders have followed the stand-up circuit and attended comedy festivals, watching talented comedians perform their lovingly crafted shows, only to let them disappear without any visual trace. We found this tremendously sad - both for stand-up fans who missed out due to ticket availability, cost, location or date, and for comedians, whose work was only being seen by a limited audience.
Additionally, we noticed a disparaging inconsistency between the spectrum of comedy styles available on the circuit, and the samey, homogenised acts tending to make it onto television.
We decided to solve these problems by launching NextUp - a Netflix style service, consisting of 90 full length comedy shows - many of which we film professionally in-house. This allows comedy fans to enjoy stand-up comedy conveniently and affordably wherever they are in the world, and enables comedians to showcase their work to an international audience whilst preserving their shows.
Substantial accomplishments to date
In May 2016, we received our first seed investment, and within only a few months we had acquired 36 shows from the most exciting names in stand-up and launched the platform. We also launched our mobile apps and website to universal acclaim, with coverage in The Guardian, Engadget, and The Times. This fulfilled our promises to our investors which resulted in follow on investment in May 2017. Since then, we have also continued to grow the company and have achieved the following:
✦ Appointed the former President of MGM and AMC Networks as Senior Advisor.
✦ Nominated for a Chortle Internet Award.
✦ Closed two successful seed rounds, bringing on a raft of experienced angels, and CEOs.
✦ Gained 1700 monthly subscribers with very little/no paid marketing.
✦ A churn rate of just 6.2% between April and June 2018.
✦ Reached our conversion rate of 61% in March 2018.
✦ Upgraded our tech platform.
✦ Apple's 'App of the Day', 'Apps We Love' and 'Most LOL'.
✦ Gained 4.5-star average rating across both app stores.
✦ Boosted our catalogue to 90 shows including bigger and bigger names.
✦ Launched on Amazon Fire Stick and Apple TV, with Roku in the pipeline.
✦ Signed a content deal with Virgin Atlantic.
✦ In discussions to finalise a content deal with Audible.
✦ Partnered with Whyte & Mackay whisky who promoted us on 1 million bottles.
✦ Invited to join Amazon Channels US & UK.
✦ Developed relationships with all major talent agencies in the UK, as well as international comedy distributors.
SUPPORTING COMEDIANS & THE COMMUNITY
As well aiming to build a robust and profitable business, NextUp supports comedians in as many ways as possible, including:
✦ Preserving their shows to a professional standard
✦ Offering free rehearsal space in London
✦ Sharing revenue 50/50 with acts on the platform
✦ Aiming to increase ticket sales by directing users to see an act live
✦ The Comic's Fund - an annual pot which acts can apply to for funding community-lead comedy projects. Last year NextUp supported The Care Home Tour which featured comedians performing to dementia patients in care homes across the UK.
Our main source of revenue is our subscription platform: access is £3.50 per month with a 30 day free trial and no contract.
Subscribers can be reached directly through advertising via social media and Google Adwords, as well as via Telcom/TV distribution partners who can offer NextUp within their consumer packages. We plan to launch with partners such as Sky, Virgin, and Verizon, and we have already signed with Amazon Channels.
Like Spotify, we operate a revenue share model. 50% of subscriptions (minus app store and card fees) go back to the comedians, divided based on views. This ties into our philosophy of industry support, creates brand ambassadors amongst industry and fans, and allows us to acquire content for a low/no up-front fee.
Our goal is to become a brand synonymous with stand-up, growing the subscription platform and opening up additional verticals as a result, including ticketing, festivals, content sale (already achieved), act management, merchandise, and original formats.
Use of proceeds
➤ Marketing (30%)
We have just embarked upon our first series of paid digital marketing tactics, with industry leading firm - 'Ladder'. With more spend and brand awareness, we aim to increase the subscriber numbers and grow quicker.
➤ Content (30%)
We keep our content fresh by releasing a new show every week. To this end, we plan to film more original shows and include bigger names, whilst still supporting emerging acts. Recent productions include Britain's Got Talent Finalist Daliso, and Perrier-winner Tommy Tiernan.
➤ Tech (20%)
Whilst our tech costs are relatively low - we have integrations in the pipeline to increase subscribers, including affiliate and 'refer a friend' systems. We're also developing our Roku app.
The remaining 20% will go towards our fixed costs which we aim to keep relatively low thanks to in-house skills of production, design and tech.
Please note that any discounts, rewards and/or offers listed by a company in its campaign are subject to the terms and conditions applied by that company and listed above. It is the company’s responsibility to honour such discounts, rewards and/or offers and Seedrs does not take any responsibility for them.
In the UK and US, the stand-up comedy DVD market is built on full-length shows lasting 60-90 minutes, focused on a few major shows by big-name touring comedians.
Over the past 5 years, DVD sales have plummeted, but the demand for comedy has increased - observed in a year-on-year increase in ticket sales at the Edinburgh Fringe, and more comedy on TV than ever before. This has left a gap in the market as long form stand-up has not been given a modern delivery method. Netflix and Amazon Prime feature some stand-up, but only from a small number of big-name comedians, negating the vibrant variety found on the wider comedy circuit.
Like us, we believe our target market seeks change. They want an easy way to watch quality stand-up online, and they want to see the same breadth of comedy available on their screen as on the circuit.
Characteristics of target market
➤ Market Value
In the UK, £1bn by 2019 and worldwide $41bn by 2022.
Our target demographic is digitally-engaged comedy fans: proportionally 60/40 male/female, aged between 18 - 45, and based in the UK and US. They follow the trend from ownership to leasing - choosing Uber over buying a car, Spotify over CDs, and NextUp over comedy DVDs.
➤ Market Trend
Mirroring the linear TV industry in the 1980s when mainstream channels such as BBC were flanked by specialist services like MTV and Discovery, the subscription video on demand market is delineating with the likes of HayU (reality), Shudder (horror) and Acorn (British Drama).
Subscribers to these services have risen 1187% since 2010 and now outnumber mainstream services like Netflix. NextUp is perfectly placed to leverage this shift and we have a first mover advantage as, to our knowledge, we are the only stand-up service.
'Successful subscription offerings are likely to be targeted at well-defined fan bases' -Ooyala.
INCREASE AWARENESS & ACQUIRE CUSTOMERS
▸Engaging digital marketing experts, Ladder.io.
▸Capitalising on the fan bases of our comedians via social media connections and affiliations.
▸ Sponsorship of comedy podcasts.
▸ Increasing PR activity with influencers, bloggers and industry gatekeepers, encouraging buzz.
▸ Promoting NextUp with engaging social media posts.
▸ Using data collection initiatives to build an email list of leads to engage via newsletters.
ENGAGEMENT & RETENTION
▸ Continuing to post engaging content on social media.
▸ Offering exclusive member-only benefits.
▸ Continue to boost our catalogue.
▸ Adding an incentivised referral module platform.
▸ Integrating social media into the platform.
▸ Building an affiliate scheme.
▸ Determine market response to varying digital approaches.
▸ Engage influencers in different markets.
▸ Analyse web traffic to identify opportunities for geographic expansion.
▸ Adopt localised strategies, including a drive for content from the chosen territory.
▸ Netflix - £7.99pm.
Only features big names via existing DVDs and originals. No sub-genre for stand-up. No comedy-related playlists or additional features. Good user interface.
▸ Amazon Prime - £7.99pm
Tied to the wider Amazon shopping platform. Also only features big names via existing DVDs. No sub-genre for stand-up. No comedy-related playlists. Poor user interface.
▸ YouTube - £0pm with ads
Features a vast array of stand-up clips and full shows, of varying quality and legality with shows, often broken into segments. No way to browse stand-up only. The user interface is messy.
➤ COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES
Our catalogue has greater diversity and depth than our competitors.
We are far more affordable than Netflix and Amazon Prime.
▸ We’re a Club
In contrast to the passive subscribers of our rivals, we have members who feel part of a club; they're invited to recordings, receive exclusive content and have a say in the future of our service.