The Pack Network App
The Pack Network, or PackNet, or TPN (or a better name), works like any streaming service such as Netflix or Hulu, but exclusively for content producers of The Pack Theater. It's an iPhone/iPad app that allows Pack Theater producers and teams to upload videos via a browser, and fans around the world to stream those videos on their phones, computers and tablets, anywhere, at any time.
Netflix is one of the most watched TV networks in the world now and app streaming is quickly replacing cable as the main medium for TV consumption. We would be one of the first comedy communities to have such a tool. UCB has teamed up with Seeso, which has been moderately successful so far even though the app is hard to use and new content is spotty at best.
With the talent at The Pack I believe that over the next few years our app could grow to be a real legitimate TV network with produced shows and a substantial audience to compete with Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Seeso.
This app would be based on a very simple, low-cost subscription model of $3 a month. Currently many community members and fans donate to the theater already every month, and I believe that most of them would be happy to donate an additional $3 to support our network, in exchange for the chance to showcase their work to the community and beyond.
The Pack Network is designed to generate a real and immediate revenue stream for TPT content creators. Unlike video streaming services like Youtube, which requires hundreds of thousands of views before any monetary compensation is generated, TPN offers compensation on every single view. This revenue will come from a percentage of subscription fees from viewers who watched the video. This way even if your video gets only a few dozen views a month, it is still earning real actual money.
TPN viewers become members by paying a low, monthly subscription fee of $3 after a free trial. This money from each subscriber is split in the following way: $1 goes to The Pack Theater, $1 goes toward app development, and $1 goes to the videos watched that month. For instance, if a subscriber watches a hundred videos in a month, each of them gets a penny. If a subscriber only watches one video in a month, the video owner gets an entire dollar from that subscriber.
That means if a TPT sketch team uploads a video and everyone from the other TPT teams watches it, that team will earn several dollars, up to potentially several hundred dollars, from that video, while no one is paying more than the easily affordable $3 a month.
TPN is not meant to compete with youtube and facebook video. In fact our app can work with other platforms to create an aggregate view count across platforms. This helps solve the common issue of competing for views on different platforms. Instead of having to choose between Facebook video and Youtube, Producers would be encouraged to promote their videos on both, as well as on TPN, but our app will keep track of the total combined view count across all three platforms for an easy and comprehensive way to keep track of how a video is doing overall. This means that putting up a video on the packnet doesn't interfere with your facebook or youtube release, so no audience is lost by releasing with our app, but once a show has an audience, the producers can choose to release solely on our app for maximum profitability.
How It Works
Vetted Producers will have access to the production portal online where they can create a user account. The portal is currently online and accessible via browser at https://warm-cove-85795.herokuapp.com. You can go there now and create an account by clicking "Login" and then "Create a New Account". For now you need to get a Join Code from me before you can open an account. Please contact me for a join code.
After you have created an account you can upload an under 3-minute video (storage space is currently limited by the Amazon S3 free account settings, but will be increased as demand and subscription funding increases.) After your video is uploaded it will immediately be available to stream through the iphone app. Currently no one has the app except me, but it is ready to beta test to the community immediately.
In the portal Producers can create "Shows" which would be like a running TPT show, such as "Speedface". Any videos from Speedface can be added to the Show Speedface on the portal, so fans who like the show will get all updates.
Producers can also create "Teams", similar to Shows, but this denotes a sketch team such as "Haymaker". Fans of the team can then stream all of their content. Teams can put on Shows, and Shows can feature Teams.
What Works Now
I have worked on the app a few days a week in my spare time for about 3 months now. The app is basically working on my phone, in a simplified form. I can give you a live demo in person. So it is currently functional, but only about 20% of a viable finished product.
Currently I can pull up a list of all the actual videos from the portal on my phone. This is what it looks like.
And I can stream the videos on my phone over wifi or cell data.
There is also a link to the packtheater.com website, the calendar and directions to the theater.
What Is Needed
There are a ton of features still missing, such as view counting, Youtube and Facebook integration, favorites lists, history, subscription activation, play all feature, video categories, Apple TV/Chromecast/Roku integration, etc. These can be added over a 6 month beta period, during which time select TPT producers can release videos and the community at large can begin using the app,
After these initial features are in place, I would suggest shooting several of the live shows at the theater, such as I'm a Pilot, Starfucker, Speedface and the Late Night Shows, with a crew of 3-5 cameras, and editing them each into individual episodes. With a little stage dressing and video direction, many of the staged shows at the theater can be made to look a similar quality to a "Dancing With The Stars", "Late Night" or "Full Frontal", and earn real TV audiences. After all, most TV is watched through apps now, so our network can be every bit as legit as Seeso, Netflix, Amazon or Hulu. Our shows can then be advertised individually as appearing only on The Pack Network so we can build a subscriber base of fans. Just like Netflix, this network will have dozens of quality shows on demand that can be binge-watched or followed episodically, and cast directly to your TV.
With targeting advertising we can gain subscribers across the globe, which will help to make TPT a world-wide name in comedy and a top destination for comedy fans visiting LA. Once viewership rises enough we can use the income to produce non-staged original series and leverage this into an actual TV Network starring the talent cultivated right here at The Pack.
I would like to release the app to the community and ask people to volunteer to subscribe to the app at $3 a month. The subscription funds for the first 6 months would go into only into development, then after 6 months the subscriptions would be switched over to the above system split between the theater, the video producers and development. I might also like to open a GoFundMe project to help pay for expenses. We can discuss details in person.