Live entertainment app backed by Mark Cuban Fireside launched to creators – TechCrunch


Amid a deluge of new designer platforms, a startup called Corner of the fire is launching today with what it believes is a compelling proposition for professional creators in need of a more robust toolset for content creation, distribution, measurement and monetization. The service, which offers a platform for live, interactive broadcasts, had made waves during its beta period thanks to financial support from Mark Cuban, who also took the rare step of naming himself as a co-founder. He is joined by former Googler, YouTuber and co-founder of Node Falon Fatemi, who sold her last business to SugarCRM, and a former Yammer employee Miek Ihbe.

The platform is now coming out of its beta period, where it has been tested with more than 500 creators whose collective audiences have exceeded 100 million, according to the company.

While there had been a few early comparisons between Fireside and live audio Platforms like Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces, hosting live audio content is only part of the Fireside feature set. The company’s reluctance to talk about its plans ahead of launch, however, allowed rumors to circulate to the point where many seemed to believe Fireside would be another Clubhouse clone.

The reality is that Fireside offers a wider set of services.

The platform today provides the ability for creators to stream live audio or video content, which can be simultaneously streamed to other social networks, streamed live in Fireside, recorded, saved and edited for further distribution on other social platforms or podcast destinations, or watched on demand within Fireside itself. In other words, it’s about trying to combine everything that makes participation in live shows meet the need that creators have to turn that content into something that has a longer lifespan in outside of the platform where it was originally hosted or registered.

Along the way, Fireside also offers a range of tools for promotion, publishing, measurement, distribution, monetization and audience growth. These are not meant to serve only as optional add-ons, but are part of Fireside’s end-to-end content production experience – an experience that creators often manage today using a multitude of tools. for single use.

Image credits: Corner of the fire

“The biggest challenge in generating great content is both identifying the best professional creators who can do it and attracting an audience. And the reality is that the best professional designers are able to do both, ”says Fatemi, who is CEO of Fireside. “The holy grail of understanding what makes great content, or success, is understanding how audiences react to it when they consume it live. If you can figure that out, you can’t just design the hits – you can create the hits, ”she says.

In Fireside, creators can choose to host live audio, live video, or a combination of the two. Like other live platforms, Fireside includes the concept of a digital stage where co-hosts and guests can join in on the show and the audience reacts in the form of emojis – like clapping, thumbs up, hearts, laughter, etc. The show itself is automatically recorded in high fidelity and a copy is recorded locally in the event of network problems.

Once the recording is complete, creators have access to a transcript and the ability to edit the content before further distribution. In the editing interface, creators can trim audio or video segments with just a tap. This part is made easier by the way Fireside presents the data it has recorded regarding user sentiment and engagement. For example, if any part of the show had negative sentiment or low engagement, a creator may choose to remove that piece before distributing the show on other platforms. They can also edit the text of the transcript accordingly.

Image credits: Corner of the fire

During a live broadcast, the content can be streamed simultaneously on social platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitch, or any other platform that offers a server URL or streaming key, such as Vimeo, LinkedIn Live, and others. (Instagram is not supported because it doesn’t have an open API. But so far creators have uploaded their content as IGTV videos after the fact). Once edited, the show can also be distributed anywhere you can download audio or video content, such as social media platforms, podcast services, or RSS (for podcasts).

Image credits: Corner of the fire

Creators can also monetize their audience directly on Fireside in addition to the revenue they generate externally on social platforms or through podcast subscriptions. At launch, Fireside aims to support paid memberships and events where creators set their own prices. It supports in-show advertising in partnership with Libsyn. It plans to support brand integrations, including freebies and tips. It even supports NFTs.

Image credits: Corner of the fire

With tickets and memberships, Fireside only takes a 3% discount to cover its costs until the creator makes $ 30,000 in revenue. Then it takes 15% – a decision the company made after analyzing the state of the market and talking to creators about what they thought was right.

With NFTs, he plans to allow creators to cut a moment off their show as NFT and then distribute it to other NFT markets with just a few clicks.

“We believe that NFTs are a really powerful vehicle for enabling creators to turn their content into currency,” Fatemi notes, adding that NFTs are part of “the future of entertainment,” according to the company.

Image credits: Corner of the fire

But Fireside, who had been reluctant to talk about its product’s pre-launch, is still keeping some details for a later date. Currently, that includes the specific NFT partners that it plans to work with on this feature – one of the biggest differentiators between its platform and other authoring tools in its same space.

The company is also unwilling to detail the state of outside investment in its business, although it has already been established that Cuban has played the role of both co-founder and investor, and that Fireside was apparently seek investment earlier this summer.

Cuban’s role as co-founder is not typical for entrepreneur-turned-investor, Shark Tank star, and owner of the Dallas Mavericks.

“He’s incredibly involved,” boasts Fatemi. (Although she wasn’t involved enough to take part in a press interview, it should be noted!) She says Cuban offered Fireside some great advice, especially on the product side. “This is an example of someone who built a new media empire on his own. He therefore fully understands the challenges faced by professional designers, ”adds Fatemi.

The company is in the process of wrapping up its Series A, which is why it will not be talking about its backers at this time.

Image credits: By the fireside (example of brand activations)

Although now officially launched, Fireside isn’t necessarily wide open to anyone. The creators he chooses to join must be professionals, even if they are still in the early days of growing their fandom. So far, the company has worked with creators including Michael Dell, who is launching a new book; real-crime podcaster Robert Riggs; the distribution and creator of “Entourage; »The actors of the Laugh Factory; author and researcher Daniel Pink; and others.

” We look [whether they have] invested in their brand and their community. Are they really content creators… is that what they want to do full time? », Explains Fatemi. You don’t need to have a number of existing fans, she notes. “It’s more about where they are in their journey and how serious they are in building a media business. “

According to the company, this focus on professional creators and pre-approved experts in the field could help it reduce some of the content moderation issues faced by live streaming tools used by the general public. But since even professionals can spread disinformation, Fireside will still have to decide where it stands as a platform in terms of the content it chooses to host itself.

“Because of our approach, we haven’t seen a lot of challenges,” says Fatemi, of those kinds of broader growing decisions that she will ultimately have to make. “But obviously, as we start to open up the platform more, we have to be very thoughtful about this,” she adds.

Fireside is available on the web and mobile, on ios.


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