Icelandic Video Platform Oz Wants to Spotlight the Creator

Icelandic startup Oz offers a subscription video platform for creators in which they make back 70% of the revenue earned from subscriptions. That’s pretty hefty, if Oz as a platform can get the traction to make it that way.

Overall, this new video platform’s plan is to be all about its creators. Not seeking to compete with YouTube — in fact, Oz founder Gudjon Gudjonsson says YouTube “complements” Oz creators when it comes to marketing — the video platform wants to foster as direct a link as possible between video creators and their fans. Oz touts freedom and control for its talent, including ways for that talent to reward their fans for subscribing.

The subscription video platform’s plan looks unique enough from other comparable platforms to have made us want to take a closer look. We caught up with Gudjonsson so he could tell us why creators should use Oz and who’s been using it already.

What’s your pitch for creators to encourage them choose Oz?

Oz is unique in that we offer creators a platform they can actually make a living off of by connecting with audiences that have an interest in what they do. It’s about building a community of subscribers and being able to communicate with them directly.

Oz empowers creators by letting them easily create their own subscription video channel and control everything, including the look and feel, the subscription price, the content, and the scheduling. But what is truly special is the way we have crowdsourced the marketing of channels by giving subscribers a tool to create and share moments from the subscription content onto social media platforms. This sharing of moments drives new subscribers back to the channels and provides a preview for anyone interested in exploring Oz.

Creators on Oz don´t compare our service with YouTube or various other social media video services as most of them are really complementary for the Oz creators, and many offer a great way for creators to market their Oz channels.

Are you looking to get the work from talent all over the world, or are you targeting particular language speakers/areas? Could you describe some of the talent you’re working with?

Oz is a platform for creators across the globe in every genre. We have a channel from a teacher in central Africa who is attracting subscribers outside of the region as the creators starts to share moments with friends. Some creators will have channels with a global appeal, and their outreach will be much broader.

We’re seeing creators across genres in various markets. We have bands that are using Oz as a modern version of a fan club. We have an award winning kids channel with shows about experiments, science, and art. We have niche channels in extreme sports. The trend that has started to emerge is that the channels we see are of high quality and address very specific niches within genres. These channels appeal to specific audiences and are tailored to their interests.

Creators get 70% of the revenue on Oz. How did you arrive at this percentage?

First and foremost, we take a stand with the creator, most especially with smaller creators that have a hard time earning money from many other platforms in the market today. Creators with followings of a few thousand may offer tremendous value to their audiences, but it can be extremely hard for those audiences to directly support creators in the context of some other models available in the market. By offering creators a subscription based solution, where their audiences subscribe directly to their specific channels, we’ve made it possible for a creator with 1,000 fans to make a living creating something that those fans appreciate.

Seventy percent is a lion’s share of the revenue and goes to creators monthly. However, it´s important to keep in mind that we’re using the other 30% to create value for creators by distributing and storing the content, managing the payment system, and continuously improving Oz.

Will subscriptions be the only way creators (and the platform itself) earn revenue? What other methods might be available?

Subscriptions are the way the fans can directly support the creators work. But Oz is more than that — we give creators direct access to their audience and allow them to communicate with them. Creators can reward their fans in many ways for subscribing to their channel — it could be free tickets to an event or a backstage pass or anything that strengthens the bond between creator and fan. This will definitely open up more possibilities for the creator in terms of creating an even greater experience for their audience — and that is something people in general are willing to pay for.

We don’t put any limitations on what creators can do within their content, so they can do brand integration, product placement, sponsorships, etc. They just have to consider how other forms of marketing integrate with the subscription offering. Ultimately, the creators are in control.

Would you compare Oz more closely to YouTube, Vessel, or Vimeo?

I don’t think any of these solutions encapsulates all of the creativity of a single creator in the way we see at Oz.

Oz is creator focused, and since it is subscription based, it will naturally attract creators that want to provide audiences with a stream of content. The creator may have an initial catalogue but will most likely want to add to that with content put out on a regular basis. YouTube us a great complement for an Oz creator looking to market their channel. Vimeo is now selling individual pieces of content while Oz is about selling the whole channel experience. With Vessel, you’re buying a subscription to an entire platform but not to an individual channel, and we want to create a more direct link between subscriber and creator.

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