Tubi calls on indie filmmakers and their fans to help beef up original content library

Tubi, the ad-supported streaming service owned by Fox, launched a new program on Tuesday called “Stubios,” inviting aspiring filmmakers to submit their original content. Notably, applicants will receive feedback directly from fans as well as one-on-one guidance from actress Issa Rae, the creator of “Insecure.”

The streamer has previously bet on upcoming filmmakers, accepting five original scripts from emerging writers through a partnership with The Black List last year. However, this is the first time Tubi is calling on viewers to participate in the pre-production process.

Later this month, users will be able to follow creatives on the Tubi app and provide their opinions on greenlit projects, such as making suggestions about casting, the screenplay, trailer, key art and more. Filmmakers can create polls as well as publish behind-the-scenes clips and other short-form videos showing off their work.

Once filmmakers go through the program and produce a finished, fine-tuned product, they are compensated for their work with an undisclosed, one-time fee. All complete projects are distributed and promoted on Tubi.

“Rather than using our traditional gatekeeping and offline processes … the fans will be able to participate dynamically and have that interactive experience,” Melody Hildebrant, Chief Technology Officer at Fox, told TechCrunch. Tubi plans to add a comment feature for fans to join in open discussions about the project.

It’s encouraging to see a major media company supporting filmmakers who may be struggling to make it in the film and TV industry, especially in light of the 2023 Hollywood strikes. However, it can be a risky move for streaming services to bet on fresh faces, particularly Tubi since it isn’t known for having quality original hits like Max and Netflix. Tubi’s new initiative could help it gain insights into how audiences will respond and improve new content before it’s released.

It’s also rare for upcoming filmmakers to receive one-on-one guidance from a notable figure in the industry, such as Issa Rae. In 2014, she founded her management company, ColorCreative, which is dedicated to supporting diverse creators. According to Tubi, creatives will get to speak with Issa directly, along with the ColorCreative team, who will provide script and creative production support.

The first cohort of creatives (or Stubiorunners, as Tubi calls them) has already been selected, including music artist Lady London, who is working on a documentary about her debut album. Other accepted filmmakers will be revealed later this month.

The company is currently taking applications for the next group of Stubiorunners, explicitly looking for unheard voices who have a strong desire to break into Hollywood and create unique content for underserved viewers.

“Stubios is a way to give creatives with invested fanbases an opportunity to tell stories that may not otherwise be greenlit in Hollywood, and it will enable Tubi to ensure our programming reflects culture as it is happening,” said Anjali Sud, CEO of Tubi, in a statement.

Stubios is part of Tubi’s larger content strategy, which entails producing more diverse originals to appeal to younger audiences. According to Tubi’s latest The Stream report, Gen Z and millennials are becoming fed up with the influx of reboots and long-winded franchises. Seventy-four percent of participants said they prefer originals over remakes, and 71% want to watch TV shows and movies from indie and smaller creators. Additionally, 74% of participants in the same demographic want more diverse content.

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