Creator+, a film studio and pay-per-view app that raised $12 million in 2021 to produce movies starring digital talent, is in talks to sell various aspects of its business, from its technology to its completed films and other IP, cofounder Benjamin Grubbs confirmed to Business Insider in a statement.
The company began winding down operations at the end of last year, a source familiar with the matter told BI.
Creator+’s business launched in 2021 and aimed to produce six feature films that year that would begin airing in 2022, cofounder Jonathan Shambroom previously told BI. The company tapped digital-native talent, including TikTokers Gryphon Johnson and Noah Beck, to appear in its projects.
The website was launched at a time when TikTokers and YouTubers were becoming increasingly popular.
The pandemic caused social distance and increased watch time on social apps. The concept of transferring digital talent to streaming applications was gaining traction, with platforms such as Hulu and Netflix airing reality programmes about the TikTok-famous D’Amelios and the “Hype House” content group in 2021 and 2022, respectively. Several entertainment firms, including Brat and Amp Studios, aim to expand the reach of digital talent.
Attempts to build streaming services centred on influencers have failed, including Jason Kilar’s 2014 initiative Vessel and Fullscreen Media’s Netflix-style subscription service announced in 2016.
Creator+ pursued a slightly different approach, providing pay-per-view video rentals via its streaming platform while licencing material to other distributors, such as Amazon. It wanted to maintain production expenses in the low seven figures, citing BI that creators are accustomed to working with smaller budgets.
“There’s a mind-boggling array of subscription options out there for people today, and we saw an opportunity to do something different,” Shambroom told BI in an interview announcing the company’s 2021 launch.
Creator+ appears to have discontinued direct-to-consumer rentals, but Grubbs told BI that feature films such as Madelaine Petsch’s “Jane” will remain accessible to rent and view on platforms such as Amazon while the business pursues a sale of its assets.
“The company reviewed acquisition offers for various aspects of its business—completed films, films in development, technology, brand IP, etc.—in Q4 2023 and is expected to conclude a transaction related to these assets in Q1 2024,” Grubbs said in a statement.
The Creator+ website went offline on Monday afternoon. It started operating again when BI requested a comment.
It’s been a difficult 18 months for companies in the creator economy. As investor appetite decreased between 2022 and 2023, some companies struggled to meet stock market expectations, leading to layoffs or closures.
According to investors and industry analysts, creators are better suited to create a new business, such as e-commerce, than a standalone product or consumer.
“I think of the creator phenomenon as a very broad through line across a lot of different verticals and sectors,” Rex Woodbury, founder and managing partner of the venture capital firm Daybreak, told BI in January. “The venture-scale generational companies are, yes, creator companies, but they’re also typically fitting into another bucket.”