A few months ago, Chase Jarvis took back the reigns of Creative Live, a free streaming media education website he founded in 2010. After climbing to the top of the commercial photography game, restless artist and entrepreneur Chase Jarvis started branching out into social media with his iPhone app Best Camera, which built on the idea that the best camera in the world is whichever camera you have with you at the moment you need to take a picture. Soon thereafter, Chase Jarvis Co-Founded the streaming media education site CreativeLive.com alongside Craig Swanson.
The website produces high-quality lecture-style classes taught by creative industry leaders and distributed through streaming media alongside course materials with a live audience and social media interaction so students can ask questions during the class. This format is often called a MOOC, or Massive Open Online Course, by pedagogic theorists and internet nerds. Starting with Chase’s many entertainment and creative industry friends, the site pulled in an expanding ring of talent. Creative Live offers all of its courses by free live streaming on the days of presentation (and more recently during rare re-broadcasts). If a student misses a given coarse, or if a student wants to own one for later review, any course and its supporting materials may be purchased for download at any time thereafter for about $100.
An educational website streaming free content may not seem like the most intuitive pathway to profitability, but Creative Live is doing well. After attracting go-getter CEO Mika Salmi in 2012, Creative Live raised over $30 million from two rounds of venture capitalization, but that’s only the beginning. With a 600 percent growth in revenue between 2012 and the middle of 2014, Creative Live demonstrates that free streaming media can pay out. The company claims to have been turning a profit since April 2010.
Details seem to be scarce on why Mika Selmi walked back to the bench to become a member of the Board of Directors and Chase Jarvis took over as CEO last April, but there is no sign of bad blood or contention. While now standing at the helm of Creative Live, Chase continues to produce his more personal, talk-show style videos under the heading of Chase Jarvis Live. These less classroom-like extended interviews are completely free, available via many streaming media formats and run about an hour and half.
As computer assisted education hits its middle-teens, Chase Jarvis and Creative Live may have finally stumbled across a model for making money with free streaming videos. The vocational, rather than academic, bent of Creative Live has allowed the streaming media website to attract a new kind of audience of professional artists, and those that wish to be professional artists, with money to spend and a desire to get close to the processes of the people at the top of their professions. Chase Jarvis’s network of friends, associates and peers was the perfect foundation for the site to build up from, and now that he has taken over as CEO the world will see just how far he can take this new idea.
By Evan Prieskop