Peter Kafka

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VHX Raises $3 Million More for Its Sell-It-Yourself Video Service

VHX Aziz AnsariYouTube makes it easy to upload your videos and distribute them all over the world. But what if you want to sell those videos?

That’s where VHX would like to step in.

The Brooklyn-based company, which is developing a service that makes it easy for video makers to sell their stuff to consumers, launched last year with a high-profile special from comedian Aziz Ansari. Since then, it has picked another 60 videos to sell, some from people you’ve heard of, and a lot from people with very small audiences.

In the near future, the plan is to open up the service so that anyone can upload and sell their stuff. Funding to build out that platform comes from a new $3.2 million round led by Union Square Ventures, along with money from new investors like William Morris Endeavor; previous investors Lerer Ventures, Lowercase Capital and Alexis Ohanian are back, too.

There are lots of places to sell videos on the Web today, starting with Apple’s iTunes and working down from there. VHX’s pitch to video makers is that it will (eventually) allow anyone to sell anything, using terms that are more flexible than the competition, and will offer a better split than the standard 70-30. In the last year, the company said, it has generated gross sales of $2 million.

It’s worth noting that the idea of well-known people selling direct to their fans, which looked like a new paradigm shift after Louis C.K.’s 2011 special, seems a little less urgent now, because it turns out that not everyone is going to be as successful as Louis C.K.

Ansari, for instance, is pushing his next special out via Netflix — and even C.K. did his latest special via HBO, though he has said he’ll sell it himself on his own site soon.

And other people have looked at the DIY video market and decided there’s less there than they thought. IAC’s CollegeHumor/Connected Ventures group, for instance, spent a bunch of time last year preparing to launch their own video production/distribution platform, but scuttled it after deciding there wasn’t enough money and/or margin there.

No problem, said VHX co-founder Jamie Wilkinson, who said VHX can prosper by servicing “tail” and “torso” content makers — not just the guys you’ve heard of.

“There’s a huge amount of content that those guys aren’t thinking about,” he said. “But that’s the stuff that’s been super successful for us — it’s low touch, with a great audience.”


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