Axios Pro: Media Deals

November 17, 2022

Axios Pro Exclusive Content

Good morning, Media Deals readers!

Situational awareness: Roku said today it will cut 200 U.S. jobs, amounting to 7% of its workforce.

1 big thing: Spotter CEO chats MrBeast

Photo illustration of Aaron DeBevoise with an image of a ring light with a mobile phone and abstract shapes.

Spotter CEO Aaron DeBevoise. Photo illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios. Photo: courtesy of Spotter

The effort by YouTuber MrBeast to raise around $150 million at a $1.5 billion valuation is not only "reasonable" but could be lower than what he deserves, Spotter CEO Aaron DeBevoise told Kerry.

Why it matters: Creator economy startups like Spotter are emerging to support the growth of YouTubers and other content creators who seek to build mature businesses with multiple revenue streams.

What he's saying: "I think [MrBeast is] worth a lot of money, and I think a lot of creators are probably worth a significant amount more money than what their AdSense would tell them that they're worth," DeBevoise said during an Axios Pro live event yesterday.

  • "We talk about creators as thinking about their assets not just as the revenue that they're bringing in, but their brand value, their personal value," DeBevoise said.

Details: MrBeast — who just became the most-subscribed YouTuber — is a client of Spotter, which gives YouTubers upfront cash to grow their business in exchange for future ad revenue from their back catalog on YouTube.

  • So far this year, Spotter has deployed $700 million to creators.
  • "Spotter's main goal is to provide capital and knowledge to creators so that they can grow their businesses independently," DeBevoise said. "Our job is to empower the creator to go out and be able to do as much as they possibly want to do and dream up."

The intrigue: Despite layoffs and hiring freezes across creator economy startups, Spotter has been hiring.

  • "There is a demand increase overall for content to be watched. We saw this during COVID. Ad rates declined, but viewership skyrocketed," DeBevoise said. "The opportunity is going to get bigger, and I think there'll be more and more hiring in the creator economy."
  • "In fact, one of the biggest issues for creators themselves is to find more people to hire," he continued. "They actually have a hard time finding behind-the-camera talent and managers and line producers and all sorts of things that there's just a ton of opportunity for."

Of note: Elon Musk is reportedly interested in luring YouTubers over to Twitter. DeBevoise said it would be a "big challenge" unless there's an obvious reward that is "measurable" and "predictable."

  • "The biggest issue creators have is time," DeBevoise said. "They don't really have tons of extra time."

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