UPDATE: For an updated look at Kickstarter and film, see this post at NewTeeVee.
For the past three months, I’ve been tracking the success of web series projects on the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter. I published a preliminary write-up with Tubefilter a few weeks ago, but that piece had a small but significant number of projects still “in progress.”
Kickstarter gives users up to 90 days to raise money. If you don’t reach your funding goal, you don’t get the money. I was waiting for my “as yet unfunded” projects to conclude, and now they are!
What is Kickstarter’s success rate? Final numbers after the jump.
100: Total number of web series pitches I counted
$252,650: Total amount of money donated to web series
$2,526: Average amount of money donated to an individual project (successful or not)
38%: Success rate, percentage of projects who reached their goal
62%: Failure rate
52%: Average percentage of goal reached (100% is success)
126%: Average percentage of goal reached after project was successfully funded
9.3%: Average percentage of goal reached if project was unsuccessful
First, the necessary disclaimer. These numbers are just based on my own calculations from 100 randomly selected web series projects on Kickstarter from over the past few months; they are not official!
A couple of things I find interesting:
* $250,000 is a lot of money! To be sure, that number is distributed among 100 projects. But the vast majority, about $200,000, went into the pockets of producers.
* Success still eludes most people who try to raise money through crowdfunding. Over 3 out of every 5 fundraising efforts fail. While that’s not the worst rate in the world (certainly better than going at it alone), don’t expect to raise money automatically. It takes work, luck and a good idea.
* While, on average, a web series project on Kickstarter raised about half of its goal, that number is skewed by a small percentage of enormously successful campaigns (two projects — including We Are with the Band — raised more than double what they asked for). If your project doesn’t reach its goal, you can expect to raise only about 10% of what you asked for. What does this mean? There’s a wide gulf between producers who are really good at getting money and those who really don’t raise any money at all. The “mode” of my sample was clear: zero, as in a large number of people raised nothing.
* People who can raise money – with good ideas, strong campaigns – can really raise it! Once the goal is reached, producers raised, on average, over 25% more than they asked for! So while making it through crowdfunding might weed out a lot of duds, the benefits of making it can be quite substantial.
* The projects that successfully raised funds were quite diverse, including serious docu-series, animated series, first-time producers, professional producers, makeover shows and scripted shows from comedies, mysteries, gay– and women-centered programs. What I really didn’t see were black or much ethnic programming. But that might have just been my sample.