Sound Rev­enue

Cast­box CEO Re­nee Wang has a new idea for fund­ing dig­i­tal con­tent cre­ators.

Fast Company - - How I Get It Done -

THE PROB­LEM

When Re­nee Wang’s three-yearold pod­cast lis­ten­ing plat­form, Cast­box, be­gan pro­duc­ing orig­i­nal au­dio con­tent last year, the for­mer Google ad­ver­tis­ing ex­ec­u­tive was in­tro­duced to every pod­caster’s strug­gle: Ad rev­enue alone usu­ally isn’t enough to fund a show, even if it has mil­lions of lis­ten­ers. She set out to develop a seam­less way for sub­scribers to fund their fa­vorite shows, while re­ward­ing them for their loy­alty.

THE EPIPHANY

Wang con­sid­ered us­ing a ser­vice like Pay­pal to let con­sumers back their fa­vorite cre­ators di­rectly, but she de­cided that the process of leav­ing the app and go­ing through a mid­dle­man would be too cum­ber­some for users and would un­der­cut the pod­cast­ers’ prof­its. But blockchain, she re­al­ized, is de­cen­tral­ized, mean­ing users could send and re­ceive money di­rectly in the app, with­out link­ing out or go­ing through a third-party ser­vice.

THE EX­E­CU­TION

In June, Wang equipped Cast­box, which now pro­duces 25 orig­i­nal shows, in­clud­ing the pop­u­lar true­crime doc­u­men­tary spoof This Sounds Se­ri­ous, with a cus­tombuilt pay­ment sys­tem that al­lows con­sumers to pur­chase a pre­mium subscription with­out leav­ing the app. She also hired four en­gi­neers to ex­pand the pay­ment sys­tem’s abil­i­ties by cre­at­ing a blockchain ecosys­tem called Con­tent­box that’s now in beta.

THE RE­SULT

With Con­tent­box, users are able to send and re­ceive to­kens from their in-app dig­i­tal wal­let. Those coins, which they can pur­chase and, even­tu­ally, earn by con­sum­ing and shar­ing pod­casts, can be do­nated to par­tic­i­pat­ing cre­ators (who, in turn, can ex­change coins for cash). “I want to in­cen­tivize and com­pen­sate cre­ators who make great con­tent, whether that’s pod­casts, mu­sic, or videos,” says Wang. She hopes to even­tu­ally part­ner with dig­i­tal me­dia com­pa­nies so that they can use Con­tent­box’s pay­ment sys­tem on their own plat­forms.

For­mer Googler Wang is us­ing blockchain to al­low fans to fund cre­ators di­rectly.

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