Victorious Launches Apps for YouTube Creators Ryan Higa, The Young Turks

Victorious Product Shot - H 2015
Courtesy of SutherlandGold

Victorious Product Shot - H 2015

The apps, which are owned and operated by the creators, feature exclusive interactive content and a community for fans.

For stars that have built their audiences on YouTube, the next frontier is the smart phone. A technology company called Victorious is helping them get there. 

The Santa Monica company on Thursday launched apps for comedian Ryan Higa and news network The Young Turks, the first in a series of creator-centric apps that it will launch in the coming months. 

All Victorious-developed apps are owned and operated by the creators and feature exclusive interactive content, fan communities and other extras. Victorious founders Sam Rogoway and Bing Chen explain that the apps should serve three purposes: create an opportunity for fans to get closer to their favorite creators, provide them a community around which to interact and give them them the exclusive experiences through content. 

Each app is tailored to the creator. To wit, Higa will debut a game in his app, host live shows, release new footage and give fans a chance to submit their own content. The Young Turks, meanwhile, will run a campaign to find the next Young Turk via its app, which will also offer up videos designed specifically for an app experience and weekly polls. 

"I've been dying for a great app for a long time," says TYT founder Cenk Uygur. "Through the fun things that we're doing to do in the app, I think we're going to drive a significant portion of our audience to join us." 

Victorious will split any revenue from the apps with creators, taking a 30 percent cut for themselves and giving the rest to the creators. Individual YouTubers can decide when and how to turn on monetization, including charging for app downloads, adding e-commerce or microtransactions. 

"Not every creator is the same," says Rogoway. "We're providing the platform for them to take advantage of. We'll also be introducing new revenue streams that creators haven't been able to participate in." 

Victorious, which is venture backed by Kleiner Perkins, Redpoint Ventures, Lowercase Capital and others including UTA, WME and Ashton Kutcher's A-Grade, launches as YouTube creators are thinking more about multi-platform strategy. With the rise of Facebook video and the launch of Vessel, creators have more options off YouTube when thinking about how to build audiences and where to put their content. But Chen points out that Victorious isn't just about video content. "We're in a world where a lot of platforms are competing for windowed content or exclusive content, but super fans want more than just content," he says. "They want an experience that you cannot buy or experience anywhere." 

Victorious will roll out apps for a number of creators over the next few months, including VFX expert Freddie Wong, beauty and lifestyle vlogger Michelle Phan and fail clip powerhouse Jukin Media. Chen explains that they sit down with each creator to determine goals and come up with ideas. "We are an ongoing partner," he says.