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Patreon Lens is Snapchat for creators' paid fans only

Patreon Lens is Snapchat for creators' paid fans only
From TechCrunch - February 6, 2018

Exclusive content is how creators get patrons to pay them a monthly subscription fee on Patreon, so the startup is equipping them with a Snapchat-like tool to turn their private lives into behind-the-scenes footage. Patreon Lens launches today within Patreons iOS and Android apps so creators can share photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours just with those who pay them at least a $1 a month. And to tempt fans to subscribe, they also can make some Lens content public.

Lens could help Patreon and its creators retain paid patrons by strengthening their connection to the artists, comedians, pundits and game developers they love. It also could make it much simpler for artists to figure out how to generate exclusive patron content without massively interrupting their workflow. Both could assist as the $107 million-funded startup attempts to break even despite charging just a tiny 5 percent fee on subscriptions.

Apainter for example might have had trouble stopping what they were doing and creating a YouTube video, says Patreon product manager Johnny Winston.But shooting quick clips with the familiar Snapchatty Lens feature is easy to do between brushstrokes. And fans dont have to hunt down the content elsewhere. Its right in the Patreon app alongside their other exclusives.

Some online content creators had already been building their own clumsy workarounds for offering exclusive Stories. Some would set up a special Snapchat or Instagram account and only approve followers who paid. But that required a ton of manual checking of who should and shouldnt have access. Patreon does it all for them, and notifies followers when new content is posted rather than burying it in a big list of Stories. A simple privacy setting lets creators expose some content to the public to show them what theyre missing if they dont subscribe.

One problem might be teaching creators to save their best behind-the-scenes content for Lens instead of blasting it out for free on Instagram and Snapchat. Some creators like comedians and visual artists might be better suited to the format than game developers or novelists.

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