Featured Startup Pitch: Theatrics has built a feature-rich, interactive, second-screen experience for content creators to engage with fans

By Editor March 29, 2013

Theatrics logoCompany: Theatrics.com

Website: www.theatrics.com

Headquarters: Houston

Year Founded: 2010

Employees: 10

Founders: Biff Van Cleve, CEO; Tracy Evans, CCO; and Bob Gebert, VP Creative

Twitter: @theatrics

Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Theatrics/225441210844133

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Biff Van Cleve, TheatricsBy Biff Van Cleve, co-founder and CEO

Product Overview

At Theatrics.com, we are inventing new ways to tell stories online. Via our Theatrics Video Storytelling Platform we make it possible for storytellers—from individuals to major corporations—to collaborate with their online audience to create interactive online video content. Our unique collaborative storytelling cloud-based software enables creators to develop and control their online interactive video productions by involving their users—customers, fans, and audience members—in content creation. The platform allows users to easily upload, aggregate, curate, and present a variety of media, and the content producer to easily manage user content within their defined story world. The result is a revolutionary form of interactive online video content that is available on your desktop or mobile device.

For studios and networks, the platform offers a second screen experience to give fans the opportunity to engage directly with their favorite shows and films—to actually create and play a character in an on-going, online series story world. A great example of this is our work with the USA Network series ‘Psych’ on S#cial Sector.

For advertisers, branded entertainment becomes interactive. The Theatrics Platform is also an excellent way to build a community of product advocates through site-based video interaction and controlled, crowd-sourced customer feedback.

For filmmakers, writers, directors, and transmedia producers, the platform gives the storyteller the ability to take the audience beyond passive viewing—and even conventional interactivity—into an entirely new form of deep online engagement and participation. Creators establish the story world, characters, and plot, so that their audience can co-create the end result by interacting with, and participating within, the show. Our own sci-fi soap opera ‘Beckinfield’ provides an excellent case study.

Theatrics is a dynamic, contemporary, community building story form that has never been available before now.

Founders’ Stories

I am CEO of Theatrics and a communications professional whose knowledge encompasses a variety of production genres from print and broadcast television to cloud-based, crowd-sourced media development. I am an experienced writer, producer, and film maker and as VP/Production for Mars Hill, I oversaw the making of a major Biblical dramatization, ‘The Hope,’ which is now in worldwide distribution in over 40 languages.

Tracy Evans (CCO) brings many years of experience in the performing arts, video, animation, multimedia and web production. As the owner of Tracy Evans Productions, Tracy has introduced a number of technical innovations for interactive communications. He has also won several industry awards for interactive media, animation and video production.

Bob Gebert (VP Creative) is an actor and coach, screenwriter, producer, and director. Bob conceived the project that became Theatrics’ proof of concept: ‘Beckinfield’ (2013 Streamy Nomination). He has appeared in numerous network television shows and feature films. As a writer, he sold a screenplay to Paramount Pictures and wrote and directed the multi-award winning indie feature, ‘11 Minutes Ago.’

The co-founders lead a team of experienced developers and social engagement specialists with offices in Houston.

Marketing/Promotion Strategy

Theatrics has teamed with Nick DeMartino Consulting and MPRM Communications to take our message to studios, networks and storytellers of all kinds.

Market Opportunity

The market for the Theatrics Platform has multiple verticals in entertainment, B2B, B2C and education. But with the NBCUniversal contract and the interest shown by other broadcasters and transmedia producers, we remain focused on the entertainment market. The release of Theatrics 2.0 will open a DIY version of this market-leading and scalable suite of tools to transmedia professionals worldwide. It will enable broad global adoption of online video storytelling as a new form of engaged entertainment and branded content.

Broadcasters are seeking new ways to engage their fans both during and after their shows air. Social television is one of those means, and a compelling second-screen experience, like that offered by Theatrics, is an excellent way to both hold and expand a show’s devotees even during periods of hiatus.

As important as fans are to the entertainment industry, they are more so to manufacturers of consumer products. Advertisers are continually seeking new ways to increase and hold market share. By building an online community around a given product or brand, manufacturers expand the value of their website and advertising dollars. The Theatrics Platform allows them to create a variety of branded interactive video entertainment experiences and dialog with their customers over which they have total control.

Other vertical markets include intra-company corporate team building and training, education, and myriad consumer-focused services requiring media upload, curation, aggregation, and playback capabilities.

How We’re Different from the Competition

The online video market is booming. The staff at Theatrics has three intense years of in-the-trenches experience in developing a cloud-based video product to facilitate controlled crowd-sourcing for professionals, companies and consumers. We are poised and ready to take on the challenges, twists, and turns of this emerging market.

Theatrics’ patent-pending platform enables creators to experiment with alternative ways to tell stories, gather and aggregate crowd-sourced video and other media, and leverage the popularity of user-generated content creation, fan fiction, and social media sharing.

The integrated social media tools invite community participation and allow the television networks, studios, producers, and transmedia storytellers to offer a guided second screen experience like no other. It is fan fiction on steroids and enables participants to step into their favorite story worlds, yet the showrunners maintain complete control of what is seen by the public.

Business Model

The Theatrics story began with the desire to tell a story in a new way—we called ‘Beckinfield’ the first ‘mass participation television series.’ To bring this project to life, Theatrics built an extraordinary technical platform, which we realized could help other types of storytellers as well. We realized, like many startups, that there was a much broader market for the enabling technologies than the stories we had to tell.

Our business model incorporates several revenue streams. For the broadcast and corporate markets, they include setup and customization services along with a monthly license and service fee. Our open market, cloud-based services will generate revenue through a freemium model as well as advertising, and our direct-to-consumer offerings will be a basic monthly subscription. There will also be license revenue from aligned platform partners and resellers who build solutions using the Theatrics API.

Current Needs

To date we have raised over $2 million in Seed capital to build the platform and launch the DIY platform and the customization business. We are now raising a new round of capital and building strategic partnerships to scale the Theatrics model and generate customer traction and revenue. A significant portion of the funds will be used to expand our engineering staff as well as our marketing and sales efforts.

Theatrics.com – www.theatrics.com