Startup Spotlight: 4WT Media – The Juice Behind the ‘Tube (And Matt Damon’s Water.org Campaign)
Whether you’re a brand, a YouTube creator, mainstream celebrity or a product, navigating the YouTube ecosystem is nothing short of tricky. YouTube even has a 200 page playbook to educate newcomers on how to fully take advantage of the platform.
But at the core, those flocking to YouTube have one simple goal in mind: “inspire audiences to engage,” which is where online video production startup 4WT Media comes in.
Their mission sprouted organically from a blend of Founder and CEO John Trefry’s aesthetic sensibilities (“I have always been passionate about film and photography,” he says, “and growing up in Alaska provided no shortage of beautiful imagery to be captured”) and his knowledge of technology.
Simply put, 4WT creates the 360 degree experiences and builds the tools to nurture that fully engaged content experience. The audience just needs to show up.
This is what makes 4WT unique to many other online video startups — they’re technology guys. 4WT’s teams are masters at building products — web sites, web apps, mobile apps — but they also understand quality production value and to put a cherry on top, they get YouTube, so much in fact they are now an official Google partner.
“Unlike other video companies, we focus on building software solutions to help create video more efficiently,” says Trefry. “We not only produce content but build the technology (website, mobile app, etc) to deliver it.”
These capabilities have granted the business an edge on the competition landing them big fish clients like Google / YouTube, KCRW, AT&T, and even Matt Damon.
But beyond 4WT’s technical prowess, the team also understands how to build audience on YouTube, work with influencers to drive campaigns and optimize content for big views and even better engagement.
“For that campaign we physically produced all the YouTube videos for folks like Shay Carl, Weezy Waiter and the other influencers [who were] part of the campaign,” says Trefry, “YouTube approached us with scripts. We did the pre-production and production of the videos, then delivered the footage to the respective creators who edited it on their own.”
This wasn’t the only time that one of 4WT’s clients created cheeky content for a bigger idea, but this was 4WT’s most commercial project to date.
Other groundbreaking projects for the company include making the informative video for YouTube’s One Channel, a recent campaign to promote the new channel design for YouTube (“don’t hate us!” adds Trefry) and the development of Kaloud’s sleek, informative video for the launch of their newly designed Hookah.
For most of their projects, Trefry’s team provides the complete soup to nuts content strategy. By reverse engineering their clients’ business goals and larger marketing approach, 4WT can craft a video content strategy then build the relevant products to enhance the viewing experience.
“We handle all aspects of the process including scripting, casting, production, animation, graphics and even distribution,” says Trefry “Our focus is on creative, not media buys, so we partner with folks like Giant Media or Fullscreen for distribution.”
But just because they’re cashing checks from the “big boys” and rubbing elbows with celebs doesn’t mean they’re living large (yet). 4WT only has six full-time employees, mainly consisting of product and content teams working from a startup space in the trendy Venice Beach, er, Silicon Beach, borough.
For larger projects, they hire freelancers outside the company for the duration and then size back down.
“It’s an exciting time to be in the online video space and we’re completely immersed every day in creating new content and using technology to be better at it,” says Trefry.
In fact, 4WT has been profitable from the very start (the company launched in May 2012), self-funded without investors — an interesting turn for Trefry who tried to take the traditional Hollywood production route and found little success along the way.
Despite a few Hollywood hiccups, Trefry has certainly come into his own in the startup world. “The future looks very bright for us given the huge demand for premium content,” he adds.
And we’d have to agree. With 4WT’s brain power, connections and talent on the loose, the online video space is in for major upheaval.
For more information about 4WT Media, check outwww.4wtmedia.com.
Tags: 4wt media, Startup Spotlight, youtube