NEW YORK, April 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- For those on the connected side of the digital divide, the internet has created a borderless society where everything is within reach of a mouse click. For the approximately 44 million American homes still without broadband, President Joe Biden has tasked Congress with approving a budget that helps bridge that divide. From a business standpoint, that's an opportunity for a bevy of companies, including streaming services, advertisers, e-commerce brands and more to reach large pockets of the country currently unattended. That means more opportunity for Friendable Inc. (otcpk:FDBL) ( Profile ) and its Fan Pass live-streaming mobile and web-based platform to further accelerate its growth trajectory by providing unprecedented access to artists ranging from up-and-comers to some of the world's biggest music artists and celebrity talent. Those connected can hardly fathom a non-streaming world anymore where, with just a tap on a device, live concerts, podcasts, movies and music are instantly available from an array of providers, including Spotify Technology S.A . /zigman2/quotes/207488629/composite SPOT -1.98% , Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.06% , Disney /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -0.14% , Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.28% and more.
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Opportune Time to Support Music Artists
With traditional media in decline, the trend towards streaming has created a massive marketplace with no signs of slowing down. Underpinned by growing adoption of cloud-based solutions to increase the reach of video content, with blockchain and artificial intelligence technologies improving video quality and ever-growing popularity of mobile devices, analysts at Grand View Research peg the global video streaming market at $50.11 billion in 2020 with robust 21.0% compound annual growth expected to 2028.
In its series titled, "New Normal, New Opportunities," RBC Wealth Management examined secular trends magnified by the coronavirus pandemic, including cord cutting and video streaming, trends that are likely to stay intact in a post-COVID economy. As determined by Roku, nearly one in three U.S. household cancelled cable or satellite subscriptions in favor of alternatives to view movies and other content and another 25% of households trimmed their traditional television services, a trend known as cord shaving.
Against that backdrop, the last year has been an opportune time for Friendable Inc. to launch its Fan Pass mobile and desktop platform as a novel entertainment service for both artists and their fans/consumers. Created by Robert Rositano Jr. and Dean Rositano, serial entrepreneurs with a track record of success, Friendable's Fan Pass platform addresses a gap in the video-streaming market by giving artists and fans what they want: more insight into the ongoings of artists, musicians and celebrities through exclusive content offered by the Fan Pass service offerings.
Currently, services are front stage facing, as artists connect with fans on the Fan Pass Virtual Stage. These events are supplemented with merchandise offerings and various add-ons that allow the fans to support their favorite artists by signing up for the monthly subscription or simply purchasing merchandise or live-event tickets, all shared with each artist on a revenue share basis. As venues re-open, Friendable will engage in various VIP and Backstage options for fans to gain access to exclusive behind-the-scenes content as well.
Rather than competing with juggernauts such as Amazon, Netflix or even Spotify, Fan Pass is a complementary partner that capitalizes on the fact that 45% of respondents in a Livestream/New York Magazine survey said they would pay for live video from a favorite performer, speaker or sports team. A stunning 87% of respondents said they prefer to watch video online if it meant more behind-the-scenes content. That is the sweet spot for Friendable's Fan Pass live-streaming platform.
Empowering Artists, Gaining Maximum Exposure
Unlike other agencies that effectively want artists to sign their lives away, Fan Pass is a true artist partner, designed to launch, elevate and activate careers coming up through the platform. Friendable also collaborates directly with artists, booking agents, talent managers, live venues and even record labels to gain access to special-event performers and ultimately their fans, as they will be the ones shaking out the new or undiscovered talent waiting to be discovered and elevated by these very same fans.
Throughout the process, the artists remain in charge, benefiting from numerous onboarding services provided free of charge by the Fan Pass team and platform. Additional tools and fee-based pro service offerings are also available to assist with logo creations, merchandise design or lighting, and streaming packages to support artists in building and managing their careers. These tools include digital marketing avenues such as celebrity direct-to-fan and digital-ad campaigns on social media, search and email. The strategy is bidirectional, meaning Friendable and Fan Pass utilize independent artists, celebrity and user-generated content to gain maximum market reach.
As soon as the Fan Pass agent team has completed the onboarding process and an artist's channel goes live for fans to access, the artist is encouraged and incentivized to promote themselves. These promotions are designed by Fan Pass and approved by each artist prior to social media postings, which dovetails perfectly with opening up the VIP/Backstage experience and exclusive behind-the-scenes content offerings as live venues schedule re-openings.
To provide some color, consider an independent artist with a million fans and followers across social media platforms — or a celebrity artist with more than 50 million. As venues re-open and fans compete for opportunities to attend a live show, Fan Pass intends to be behind the scenes offering up livestream content. Traditionally only a handful of fans could ever obtain a backstage pass or participate in a backstage meet-and-greet; however, that all changes when fans download the Fan Pass app or use their website to gain access to exclusive experiences for a fraction of the cost.
Fan Pass charges $3.99 per month (or $38.30 annually) for an all-access pass to all artist content, streamed across various music genres in the app and on the Fan Pass website. The artists receive a portion of these fees, based on the type of content — video, audio or image — as well as fan activity in each artist channel. In the case of a live or special-event ticket, artists have the option of selling tickets to these live shows as an additional source of revenue, netting them 100% of ticket sales processed by Fan Pass and paid out immediately.
In the example above, if only 1% of the independent artist's one million fans, or 10,000 fans, purchase an event ticket for $8, that totals $80,000 in revenue for the artist — and that is in addition to the ongoing or recurring subscriber revenue shared with the artists.
And that's not all. Friendable has been securing partnerships to ensure Fan Pass expansion as additional platforms are coming soon. The company is also targeting key relationships within the entertainment industry as it evaluates further opportunities to support and service Fan Pass artists and fans. Potential OTT platform expansions include Apple TV, Android TV, Roku and more.
Fans, Artists Loving It
Appetite is growing for the Fan Pass live-streaming platform as measured by rising activity and growth data related to artist sign-ups, monthly platform impressions, fan/user sessions and increases in social media followers, likes and reach. In February 2021, 317 new artists signed up for the platform, with live-event streams numbering 32, up 64% from January. The company's reach on Facebook expanded 30% as likes for the Fan Pass page rose 19%, while the reach on Instagram jumped 55% as the number of followers rose 9.3% month over month.
While those numbers are impressive, March's numbers ticked even higher as the word got out about what Fan Pass brings to the table. An additional 575 new artists signed up during the month, with live events and performances doubling from February. Fan Pass impressions increased 19% and live-channel impressions soared 69%. Facebook reach exploded by 120%, and engagement was up another 19%. All the critical metrics for Instagram also notched double-digit percentage increases.
Genius: Jumping in the Red Hot NFT Market
Friendable management is not missing a beat while getting in front of emerging trends that fans crave. NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are one of the hottest markets around. NFTs are unique digital assets stored on blockchain technology that can't be reproduced. Digital artwork has been prized, as illustrated by a relatively unknown artist called Beeple raking in an astonishing $102.2 million from selling 842 pieces of his work. Jack Dorsey's first tweet (autographed), short videos of pro basketball players and other things digital are all the rage as the NFT frenzy rages on.
Friendable and Fan Pass with its long list of artists are a perfect fit for this market. This month, the company inked a letter of intent with Santo Blockchain Labs and Santo Mining Corp. to develop global entertainment and music artist-driven NFTs, along with its own marketplace. Each NFT, expected to be limited-edition digital and/or augmented-reality images, represents a unique opportunity for revenue streams for the artists, Friendable and Santo. NFTs can also include gold or platinum tickets that give the owner exclusive benefits to a physical venue or event with the artist. In totality, NFTs are a savvy way to generate revenue while also building artist and Fan Pass brands by making the most of an accelerating trend.
Others in the Streaming Space
The streaming industry is absolutely thriving, which could lead to an increase in consolidation activity as companies look for any potential edge to win consumers. Examples of M&A activity in recent years include IAC-owned Vimeo acquiring LiveStream and VHX for undisclosed amounts, as well as Magisto for a reported $200 million and Stingray making several acquisitions including Qello, Chatter, DJ-Matic and Yokee.
Spotify Technology S.A. (NYSE: SPOT ), a service first known for music but now a global leader in streaming podcasts, turned the industry on its head last year when it signed comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan to a $100 million contract to get his content exclusively publishing on its brand. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has said that "audio – not just music" is the future of the company. The company moved with a purpose in that direction, bolstering its podcast library from just 185,000 choices in 2018 to over 2.2 million as of February.
Apple Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +0.06% has a knack unlike any other to position itself as providing only the highest-quality products and getting its loyal base to pony up big dollars for what they want. The same could be said about its streaming services. A new study by Self Financial examined IMDb scores with U.S. customer data, and not surprisingly, Apple TV+ topped the list of providing the highest-quality content providers, outstripping Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Disney+ and Hulu. Apple only launched its streaming service last year and already reportedly has more than 30 million TV+ subscribers.
Disney /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -0.14% is certainly a family show icon for big and small screens alike, and now the astute entertainment provider is mastering the streaming space too. The company's "The Falcon and the Winter Soldier" on Disney+ is a blockbuster, reportedly scoring 495 minutes of viewing time when its premiere episode came out the week of March 15, making it the biggest Disney debut ever. For perspective, consider that the show outperformed both premieres of seasons one and two of the Disney blockbuster, "The Mandalorian."
Amazon /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.28% is more than just the go-to e-commerce website. Once exclusively a book purveyor, the company has a complex ecosystem today including streaming music and movies that fall under its Prime label for members. Amazon was ahead of the curve more than most realize, unveiling Amazon Studios to produce, acquire and self-publish original movies and other content.
With more streaming service subscriptions in the U.S. than there are people ( 340 million vs. 330 million ), it's hard to believe that the market is still in its infancy. Common sense suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic may have artificially inflated subscribers as people were on lockdown, but judging by robust corporate projections , all it did was enlighten more people to the beauty of streaming compared to traditional media.
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