How much would you pay to have an intimate video-conferencing session with Madonna, Amy Schumer, Laura Dern, Jennifer Lopez or Judd Apatow?
Bright, a startup founded by investor and music manager Guy Oseary (whose clients include Madonna and U2) and former YouTube exec Michael Powers, is going to test the market for live, ticketed events hosted by celebrities, music artists and creators.
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Launching Tuesday, Bright (brightlive.com) is built on top of the Zoom Video Communications platform, which has soared in usage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bright initially is listing paid events from more than 200 talent partners, with each session capped at a maximum of 100 participants.
Bright’s roster of partners includes: Madonna, Ashton Kutcher, Naomi Campbell, Shawn Mendes, Amy Schumer, D-Nice, Charli and Dixie D’Amelio, Laura Dern, Judd Apatow, Deepak Chopra, Diplo, Kenny Smith, Kane Brown, Drew and Jonathan Scott (“Property Brothers”), Lindsey Vonn, Rachel Zoe, Cesar Millan, Diego Boneta, Tal Fishman, Ryan Prunty, Demi Skipper, Charlotte Mckinney, Jason Bolden, Yris Palmer, Cat & Nat, Ronnie2K, Chef Ludo Lefebvre and Jonathan Mannion.
The individual talent set the ticket prices; Bright will keep 20% of the fees. For now, the site does not list prices for tickets.
In the Bright sessions, fans will be able to directly ask the hosts questions and make requests from a VIP area. In some cases, attendees may be invited to join the hosts on the “Bright Stage” for direct exchanges.
Among the first sessions are Laura Dern’s “Tell Your Story,” in which she and guests will discuss the paths that brought them to where they are today; Kane Brown’s “Record This: Nashville Edition,” focusing on the talent behind the hottest country music records and tours; former NBA star Kenny Smith’s “Champions Talk” featuring interviews with his favorite athletes; “Property Brothers” Jonathan and Drew Scott’s “Room x Room” on home improvement and design; and Jennifer Lopez’s “Skincare Secrets.”
According to Powers, Bright’s CEO, the company has lined up more than 1,500 additional partners for future sessions.
“Our goal at Bright is to create the biggest classroom for leveling up your life by combining the best of live conversations with incredible talent and entertaining learning experiences,” said Powers. He previously was a sales management exec at YouTube, which he noted historically has seen 20% of video views generated by learning and educational content from creators.
Sound Ventures, Oseary’s investment firm co-founded with Kutcher, is a lead investor in Bright. Other backers include RIT Capital, Globo, Norwest Venture Partners and Slow Ventures, along with celebrity and entrepreneur angel investors. (Powell wouldn’t say how much seed funding Bright has raised.)
“The idea for Bright was born from years of working to empower artists in connecting directly to the audience that support them,” Oseary said in a statement. His portfolio of investments includes Airbnb, Uber, Spotify, Robinhood, Pinterest, GOAT, Clubhouse, Airtable, Gitlab and Pearpop.
Powers, who joined YouTube in 2006 about a year after it was founded, was part of the team that launched YouTube Channels — the service’s first run at funding content — with key partners. Most recently, he was senior VP and GM at CBS Interactive for more than four years.
“Top talent obviously not going to [launch paid live video events] just for revenue,” Powers said. “They want to interact with their biggest fans and supporters, or support an organization they care about.”
Other members of Bright’s executive team include VP of talent and partnerships Kaitlyn Powell, former head of talent at live-streaming platform Caffeine; Sadia Harper, former user-experience strategist at Instagram, who is head of creator and product strategy; director of creative programming Jeben Berg, an alum of YouTube and Maker Studios; design lead Heather Grates, formerly product designer at Pinterest; and head of finance Jarad Backlund, who previously worked in finance roles at Apple, Google and Facebook.
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