The founders’ idea was to deliver eyeballs online to advertisers in what they called the pennies world of the web (versus the pounds world of TV.) They got this going before we were involved: well-known stars made 3-minute videos at very low cost. They were then exported within ChannelFlip’s own video player to the most popular sites used by 18-34 men which was ChannelFlip’s target audience. Views were counted through the proprietary video player and the sites received so much per view – with each view preceded by a pre-roll commercial for the advertising client. With this clever model, the content was exported to where the target audience was already gathered and ChannelFlip could with luck guarantee to deliver so many views.
ChannelFlip was a forerunner of Whetstone Enterprise Support and its success encouraged us in putting our new venture on the road. John Sanderson worked on second round funding, introducing a chairman and the London Development Agency’s Creative Capital Fund. Whetstone joined the round and John Sanderson became a board observer, later introducing Trillium Partners who advised on the sale. Progressing was hard work because of the challenge of signing up big brands – agency intermediaries to navigate, a new business model to explain. A major success such as Harry Hill creating the sponsored online content of AOL are complex.
Sticking to the principle of delivering online eyeballs, the founders Wil Harris (CEO) and Justin Gayner (Creative Director) shifted the emphasis to signing up YouTube stars who might have 1 million views a month for their back-bedroom output and to monetizing it with and for them. By the time Shine Media acquired the business – price not disclosed but a good return for both investor rounds – ChannelFlip had managed to become YouTube’s biggest European network operator – now called MCNs or multi-channel networks. Almost 2 years after the sale ( Dec 20110 it now runs over 150 channels.