TV Sitcom Asks the Crowd

Raised by Wolves cast photo and Kickstarter announcement

A popular TV programme has decided to raise money from crowdfunding to make a third series, after Channel Four declined to re-commission it.  Is this the start of a trend?

We've already seen companies like Wet Zebra and Unbound do it with books, so why shouldn't the crowd replace TV commissioning?

Raised by Wolves, a comedy about a family growing up on a council estate in Wolverhampton, enjoyed two series on Channel 4, but the network didn't think it was worth commissioning a third series. Now writers Caroline and Caitlin Moran are  trying to raise £320,000 towards making a third series.

The scriptwriting sisters told the East Lothian Courier :

"They do it all the time in the US. Let's be the first UK show to give it a go. Let's be those bold pioneers. And if it works - well, it opens the door to hundreds of other projects, that could also be directly commissioned by fans."

Our regular readers will remember we wrote about TV audiences crowdfunding the production of shows in September. In this case, the offer isn't equity or debt - so why would you support it?  

This kind of crowdfunding is finding favour in the entertainment industries as a way of crowdfunding projects: an album, a video, a performance, a tour. The consideration (the "what's in it for me?" for the backers) takes the form of an advance purchase, or an exclusive offer.

Creative writers and performers raise working capital from their fans. This also acts as a good barometer of market sentiment. Raised by Wolves raised a fifth of its target in the first 24 hours of the campaign, which shows it hs fans. And the value created (which matters to many crowdfunders is that you get to see something produced which  wouyldn't have happened without you.

Platforms that support this kind of crowdfunding include Phundee, Wet Zebra, and Bloom VC.   and Bloom VC explicitly call what they do "non-equity crowdfunding." It definitely has a part to play in our opinion, and may be a useful first step for small ventures that aren't robust enough for an equity raise.