Friends of VidAngel,
We emerged from bankruptcy today after settling a 4+ year lawsuit with Disney and Warner Bros.
While we are thrilled for what’s ahead, we need a moment to unplug, recharge, and take care of some important updates behind the scenes (so Netflix and Amazon content will be offline for a bit but will be returning hour by hour for the new few days).
The past four years have felt like a marathon, and a water break is long overdue. We will be back soon ready to hit the ground running.
No need to fret though. All of our original content is still accessible, you can check out some of our new up-and-coming projects, and potentially partner with the creators of said projects. We have learned a lot over the years, and have grown in more ways than one. We would love your feedback!
Thank you for supporting a few Idaho brothers as we’ve pursued a shared dream over the past seven years. You are part of a story that matters.
Shortly after the founding of America, John Quincy Adams truthfully quipped, “Whoever tells the best story wins.”
In the early 1900s, a small group of filmmakers, frustrated at the oppressive restrictions imposed by the then movie cartel, fled West and started making movies in Hollywood, California. They were sued and pushed out of the mainstream movie business.
The creators voted with their feet and left New Jersey for California.
They then made a hundred years of movies that helped the world navigate the great depression, two world wars, the civil rights movement, and more. Hollywood not only captured our hearts and imaginations, it shaped how we saw ourselves and what we consider right and wrong. It has become the #1 export of the world’s largest economy. We are grateful for much of what those pioneers created.
Most people don’t even know the movie business ever resided in New Jersey because Hollywood won in telling the best story. They locked down production, distribution, and copyright so you had to come through their door to reach the audience. But the best story to the Hollywood elite and best story to normal people, in their homes, slowly drifted apart.
One hundred years later, a family of Idaho farm boys protested what Hollywood has become by making a video about the decline of values in content published by Hollywood and launching a new service, VidAngel.
Those like us thought to solve the problem with a bandaid: skipping the offensive Hollywood bits in our homes. As a community, we used CleanFlicks and a dozen other companies who were sued out of existence.
We brothers started VidAngel to solve the problem for streaming, believing we could attract an audience who wanted better stories for their homes. We tried every way we could conceive to pay Hollywood: Chromecast, YouTube, Google Play, DVDs, Streaming, and DVR.
We were shut down, pulled, rejected, sued, treated like pirates, and even opposed in bankruptcy. What was our crime in trying to figure out how to pay Hollywood while giving the individual homes the ability to skip stuff they found offensive?
When we lost the lawsuit in Los Angeles, we even tried to pay off the entire judgment with interest. “Not so fast,” said the studios. They didn’t want to be paid. They wanted control.
The studios know, like Adams, that: “Whoever tells the best story wins.” And they want complete control of how their story is told.
Faced with continuing the legal battle to the supreme court or settling with the studios, we recently held a vote with the 8,000 homes who invested in VidAngel, and in a landslide we investors decided it’s time to tell a better story.
We are done trying to make money for studios who abhor that we’re doing it. Those who mock us for doing it. Those who sue us for doing it. Talk about a lose-lose proposition.
Instead, we, meaning you and I, are going to tell the best story. And as we do, we win.
Case in point, since the launch of The Chosen last November, season 1 has over 8 million app downloads in more than 180 countries and 50 languages. With 55 million views and counting, it’s a phenomenal success and by season seven, we believe we’ll reach over a billion people with its message.
For its audience (19,000 of whom funded season one), The Chosen is the best story. There are many more best stories to be told for countless communities who are underserved by the Hollywood elite.
We believe these principles, which we’ve followed to make The Chosen, will continue to produce the best stories for their audiences over time:
- Audiences choose the best story. The crowd will pick winners more often than the elites in Hollywood. The audience is far more important than the executive producer. If the crowd funds the story, it should be made.
- You should interact with the creators. When the creators have a direct connection with the audience, they will tell the best stories for their audience.
- Feedback loops > Rules based systems. MPAA ratings and Disney mandated standards are yesterday’s system of accountability. Data from skips (applied by individual homes) give the creators the information they need to make the best stories.
We know, like Adams, that “Whoever tells the best story wins.”
A little imagination went a long way for Roy and Walt’s little company, Disney Brothers (later Disney). How far can it go for over 8,000 homes backing a few farm boys from Idaho and the creators of the future?
Be part of a story that matters:
- Back stories you want made by investing.
- Support creators you want to see more from by paying it forward.
And may the best stories win!
Neal and Jeffrey Harmon