Fans Pay $500K To Keep Favorite Shows, Will This Kill Netflix with CEO Ben Dobyns

ben-dobyns

In Episode #478, Nathan is joined by Ben Dobyns, CEO and founder of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. He’s started giving the company’s films away for free ever when he started the company—a tradition he’s proud to continue today.

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Famous Five:

  • Favorite Book? – The Art of Game Design
  • What CEO do you follow? – Jamie Wilkinson
  • Favorite online tool? — Slack
  • Do you get 8 hours of sleep?— Yes
  • If you could let your 20-year old self, know one thing, what would it be? – “Take the time to pursue the dream. Shortcuts will disempower you and empower other people”

Time Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:33 – Nathan introduces Ben to the show
  • 01:57 – Ben had a terrible experience with Hollywood distribution in 2008
    • 02:10 – Ben didn’t get paid for the film they made
    • 02:18 – The company owed Ben $ 30,000
  • 03:23 – “Independent films will lose your money if you invest in them”
  • 03:34 – Ben launched his new company in 2010 and paid their investors back after a year
  • 03:47 – Zombie Orpheus Entertainment was launched in 2010
  • 03:59 – “We’re going to give people free films and share them”
  • 04:10 – Ben had a realization that each film will be a form of advertising
  • 04:33 – At the end of every episode, there’s a message that will lead viewers to give Zombie Orpheus Entertainment money
  • 05:08 – Journey Quest series on Youtube
    • 05:45 – Ben will let the viewers choose if they want to continue watching or not
    • 06:04 – Based purely on fan contribution, Ben and his team are able to continue the show
    • 06:16 – They made $ 30,000 for season 1 and from Kickstarter is $ 112,000 which funded season 2
    • 06:28 – Zombie Orpheus Entertainment is now out of the investment cycle
  • 07:07 – Zombie Orpheus Entertainment built a fan base on Facebook and Youtube
  • 07:36 – Zombie Orpheus Entertainment had 1,117 unique backers for Journey Quest
    • 07:57 – On Kickstarter, average contribution is $ 97 per backer
  • 08:33 – The fan base is big for Zombie Orpheus Entertainment
  • 09:01 – Ben done 3 Kickstarters this year
    • 09:18 – Attack in the Darkness – raised $ 25,000
    • 09:28 – The Gamers – raised $ 174,000
  • 09:49 – Raised $575,000 for the 3 seasons of Journey Quest
  • 10:04 – Ben setup a pre-funding page with public metrics for journey Quest
    • 10:14 – 4,200 people added their names in the email list
    • 10:29 – They launched with 4,600 names in their list on day 1
    • 10:45 – Kickstarter attracted more people
    • 11:06 – RenewJourneyQuest.com is the pre-funding page
  • 12:00 – Ben has one of the best Kickstarter planning sheet
    • 12:20 – The sheet is not currently for public use
  • 12:36 – With Journey quest, the needed budget was $ 325,000 for the production
    • 12:55 – Ben didn’t aim for profit for this Kickstarter
  • 13:10 – Season 3 of Journey Quest will be moved to BackerKit for pledge management
  • 13:55 – Ben isn’t looking for an exit or an IPO
  • 15:00 – What Ben is doing is similar to a SaaS business model
  • 15:50 – Ben has been offered venture capital but he won’t accept it
  • 16:55 – Ben is going to release their world bible and their intellectual property to allow their commercial derivatives
  • 17:45 – Ben uses Kickstarter to have a merchandise fusion with a reward program
  • 17:55 – Ben is really picky with merchandise quality
  • 18:25 – Keep Zombie Orpheus Entertainment’s shows alive by dropping a dollar or $ 5 at Patreon
  • 21:07 – The Famous Five

3 Key Points:

  1. Use bad experiences as education and motivation.
  2. Venture capital is not always an option.
  3. Take the time to pursue the dream. Shortcuts will disempower you and empower other people.

Resources Mentioned:

  • Toptal – Nathan found his development team using Toptal  for his new business Send Later. He was able to keep 100% equity and didn’t have to hire a co-founder due to the quality of Toptal  developers.
  • Host Gator – The site Nathan uses to buy his domain names and hosting for the cheapest price possible.
  • Freshbooks – The site Nathan uses to manage his invoices and accounts.
  • Leadpages  – The drag and drop tool Nathan uses to quickly create his webinar landing pages which convert at 35%+
  • Audible – Nathan uses Audible when he’s driving from Austin to San Antonio (1.5-hour drive) to listen to audio books.
  • Assistant.to – The site Nathan uses to book meetings with one email.
  • Acuity Scheduling – Nathan uses Acuity to schedule his podcast interviews and appointments
  • Drip – Nathan uses Drip’s email automation platform and visual campaign builder to build his sales funnel.
  • Patreon – Ben’s pledge page
  • Show Notes provided by Mallard Creatives

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