The San Francisco based platform Patreon just acquired Kit, a startup focused on allowing content creators to display merchandise on their different online profiles.
Patreon originally started with the idea of offering content creators a way to earn money thanks to their art. One of its founder, Jack Conte, was looking for a process allowing him to earn a living out of his singer career. In 2013, he founded Patreon with the help of a fellow college student, Sam Yam.
Today, the company collaborates with over 100 million artists coming from various backgrounds. Patreon mainly work with YouTubers who wish to offer exclusive online content to their subscribers in exchange of a monthly subscription fee called a patronage.
Concretely, creators create a Patreon account and become a patreon creator. YouTubers can share their Patreon profile by adding the link to their profile in the description of their videos. A subscriber becomes a patron when he chooses to pay a certain amount of money in order to support financially their favourite YouTuber. In return, the YouTuber will upload exclusive online content to his Patreon profile like livestreams and early access to certain videos. A YouTuber will keep 90 percent of the amount paid by his patrons.
A new way of income for creators
The acquisition of Kit by Patreon will allow creators to get a new source of income, as Kit users are remunerated by monetizing their recommendations. The platform grants them yet another way of building loyalty and connecting with their audience.
Every minute, a new product is added on Kit, which adds up to more than a million products regrouped into lists called, quite unsurprisingly, “kits”. Over the years, Kit has grown into a community of millions of users who can be YouTubers, Instagrammers, Bloggers or even Twitch streamers.
As an example, an active member of Kit, Casey Neistat (a YouTuber with over 9.5 million subscribers) shares his film gear in one of his “kits” available on his profile. YouTubers like Neistat usually share their Kit profile by adding the link in the description of their videos. Once on Kit, subscribers can navigate through his profile and look up the YouTuber’s favourite products. By clicking on one of them, the user is redirected to Amazon — or any other partners, like eBay — where it will possible for him to purchase the item. If the same product is bought by Casey’s viewer, the YouTuber will then receive a certain amount of money through his Paypal account, directly linked to his account.
Kit could also allow Patreon users to start offering merchandise items to their fans. As Patreon’s VP of Product, Wyatt Jenkins said, “As of today, over 60 percents of Patreon creators either want to, or are already, delivering some kind of physical merchandise.”
Details about the financial contract between Kit and Patreon were not made public, but around 90 per cent of the Kit team will be joining its buyers. The head office will remain in New York City for the rest of this year.
Kit has announced that they will work on integrating their community in Patreon. Kit will remain functional for their users, but nevertheless strongly encourages their members to join Patreon.