End of Year 2016 Community Update

Dear Storyhunter Community,

I want to share some news on our platform and our industry as we bid farewell to an eventful 2016.

First off, from everyone here at Storyhunter HQ, we want to sincerely thank you for being part of our global network.

You have done some remarkable work this year and we are extremely honored to be facilitating it.

Freelance video producers, filmmakers, and journalists discovered thousands of great gigs this year on Storyhunter. In 2016, more than 2000 original productions were commissioned on the platform by 166 different companies. 7 Storyhunter freelancers did more than 20 projects on the platform. One freelancer completed a record 38 projects this year.

Media companies and brands began scaling video production this year using our platform. As a result, freelancers and production companies earned millions of dollars for original video services on Storyhunter in 2016. (And our payment system ensured every penny was paid out in less than 30 days!)

From 360°video to breaking news to drone videos to original video series to branded content, Storyhunter clients commissioned all kinds of productions in 2016. For our favorite videos produced on the platform, check out our Staff Picks for 2016.

For our clients and freelancers alike, the world is now a much smaller place. In 2016, Storyhunter original productions or services were performed in 93 different countries and in more than a thousand unique cities or towns. Many of these were original ideas pitched by the freelancers on open, ongoing assignments. Others were ideas the company had or were developing and then they went onto the platform to find the right freelancer or production company for the job.

Here’s just a tiny sample of what you produced this year on Storyhunter:

Mini docs on dating culture in New Delhi, India (Sidrah Ahmed for Discovery Digital). Breaking news reactions to terror attacks shot in 360° video in Brussels, Belgium (Pedro Simão De Miranda for the New York Times). A profile of drug dealers in Caracas, Venezuela (Carlos Beltran for the New York Post). The story of a surfing dog in Oahu, Hawaii (Jonathan Keao for Little Things). Livestreaming a Space X launch at Cape Canaveral (Adrian Baschuk for the Weather Channel). Drone video of the mysterious red lagoon high up in the Chilean Andes (Mathias Meier for Great Big Story). Bamboo bikes in Ghana (Stefan Wagner for AJ+). The latest solutions from Silicon Valley (David Zlutnick for Huffington Post). Exclusive videos of the ongoing protests at the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota (Sara Lafleur-Vetter for Fusion). Nationwide post-election reaction videos from around the US (Julia Muldavin, Brian Patrick, Julie Espinosa, and Simon Brubaker for New York Times).

Scores of videos produced on Storyhunter went viral, like this video by Irene Herrera for 60 Second Docs on fathers learning how to braid hair, which received 28 million views on Facebook. Nearly 10 million people watched this video for ATTN by Jacob Hurwitz-Goodman who highlighted the stories of today’s refugees by sharing the stories of refugees fleeing the Holocaust. And this unforgettable New York City production by Taper Media for the New York Post on a very special green-cladded lady with 37 million views.

Our technology, coupled with our talented global network, has simplified the process of finding, hiring and managing freelancers for digital media clients such as AJ+, NYPost, The Weather Channel, Fusion, and Great Big Story. They have been able to transform their original video operations quite quickly from upstarts to global video powerhouses, scaling original video production with very little overhead. With our launch of new services such as full-service video production and 360/VR production, we’ve also been able to help multinational brands such as The Gates Foundation, Facebook, and Expedia tell their digital stories from anywhere.

While we are thrilled with how far we’ve come this year, we are striving to improve and grow in 2017. Thanks to your feedback, we will be making major strides in improving our platform to make quality, global media production even more efficient than it is today.

We are now developing the most powerful and advanced original media production system the world has ever known. It is an all-in-one workflow for companies and freelancers to collaborate in the most efficient way possible. It combines the most important elements of network management, project management, contract management, payment, and analytics into one robust solution.

We are calling it the Freelance Management System (FMS) and we will be rolling it out in stages starting in February 2017. This is a suite of tools not only for digital media companies, but also for TV news operations and large-scale branded content production.

Here’s what’s in store for you this year on the Storyhunter platform:

  • Mobile App: Yes, Storyhunter will now be pocket sized. This was our most requested item by clients and freelancers alike, so due to popular demand, we are releasing our app in IOS early this year.
  • Inbox and Messaging : We’re improving communication on the platform to make it simpler for everyone in our community to discuss new projects, and manage ongoing ones.
  • Real-Time Price Recommendations: To help companies new to video begin producing quickly, we will be launching a price recommendation system that reflects market rates.
  • Fast Pay for Freelancers : In the coming months, freelancers will get the option of getting paid within 3 days. And you will get more than a dozen payment options, from bank account in your local currency to a Storyhunter debit card.
  • World Class Analytics : We are building the first-ever financial reporting system for video production, so companies can easily manage their budgets effectively and freelancers can see how much they’ve earned over the course of their careers.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for Storyhunter in 2017. Our goal with these new features is to create a fair and efficient system for global media production that fosters trusting, long-term business relationships between freelancers and companies. Not only do we want to makes life easier for in-house producers and freelancers, we also want to make the lives of the finance departments easier by streamlining the paperwork and budget reporting.

Our core mission with Storyhunter has always been to help freelance filmmakers and journalists not just survive, but thrive. As a former freelancer myself, I know how hard it is to do the work you love while making ends meet. This is why we founded the company. We will never allow a race to the bottom in prices for freelancers, which is why we’ve created floor prices and are building the first-ever automated price recommendation system for our industry. Sometimes the companies posting assignments simply don’t know the market rate. Often, they wouldn’t even think about producing video with freelancers if Storyhunter didn’t make the process so much easier. We want to continue to make it easier for all companies like these to work with independent media producers like you and help grow the media production pie for us all.

As you can see, we’ve got our work cut out for us in 2017. But it is so worth it. It seems that the world is finally beginning to understand something that we’ve always known as filmmakers and journalists: the true power of stories in shaping society.

This power of story is why thousands of our freelance colleagues are in prison all over the world. Several of our own freelancers were detained this year while on assignment. While we know this is common behavior for countries like Russia, Turkey, Syria, Venezuela, and China, this year in the U.S. in Standing Rock, North Dakota, we witnessed the arrest of video journalists simply for doing their job. Along with our colleagues at the Committee to Protect Journalists, Rory Peck Trust, and ACOS alliance, we must urge our governments to protect the rights of journalists and filmmakers worldwide.

Authentic stories are the most valuable currency the world has ever known.

We are so humbled and honored to be building the platform that helps them get made in the most efficient AND ethical way possible. From all of us at Storyhunter HQ in Dumbo and our new office in San Francisco, thanks so much for your support. We can’t wait to see your stories in 2017.

Happy New Year,

Jaron and the Storyhunter Team

Image for post
Photo from a DJI Phantom on our Dumbo rooftop in August 2016

Written by

Video Journalist, Optimist, Founder @Storyhunter

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