Jack Davis’ refrigerator in his office on Wilshire Boulevard is covered with artworks that depict the stuff you see on your nightmares. There are demonic creatures that look monstrous, hideous cannibals, and a tree that enjoys eviscerating its victims.
The creatures are a product of Crypt TV, Davis’ digital studio. 27-year-old Davis has accumulated over $11 million capital money from different investors including producer Jason Blum, Advancit Capital, NBC Universal, and Kenneth Lerer.
Betting on horror
The studio, located in Los Angeles, has been operating for four years. It produces horror videos for social networking sites. This year, it is bound to bring in a revenue of 20 million dollars through its deals with production companies, ads, and sales from merchandise.
According to Davis, no one was doing horror for mobile when he was just starting out, despite the genre having a considerable following.
Davis co-founded Crypt TV with Eli Roth, who directed and produced Hemlock Grove, the first horror series on Netflix. The duo believed that fans of films like Get Out would enjoy the same genre on their mobile phones.
Crypt TV on Facebook Watch
And everything is now paying off. On Friday, Crypt TV announced that it had reached another agreement with Facebook to produce five series for Facebook Watch, the social media platform’s video service. The first deal between the two companies was signed in 2018 when Crypt TV produced a series with 15 episodes for Facebook.
Though the terms of the deal are not publicized, experts are saying that Facebook has been paying an estimated amount of $25 million for these original series. Forbes, on the other hand, said the deal is valued under $20 million.
However, a survey conducted last year revealed that teens, Crypt TV’s primary audience, no longer hang out on Facebook. A media research consultancy also found that only 50% of Facebook users are aware of Facebook Watch.
But the social media network says over 140 million users spend a minute each day watching videos on Watch. They are also confident with Crypt TV’s ability to pull in an audience.
Banking on fear
Crypt TV’s audience enjoys the right amount of fright. In 2017, the genre brought in a $1 billion revenue in box office sales.
Because of the popularity of Crypt TV’s short film called “The Birch”, they now have 9.75 million followers.
Crypt TV’s beginnings
Davis’ parents were hosting a dinner party at their home when he found himself seated next to Roth. Davis, who was then a sociology and political science major at Duke University, started reciting lines from Roth’s portrayal of his character in Inglourious Basterds.
The conversation led to a discussion of Davis’ plans after college. When he mentioned about putting up his own company and banking on media viewing habits to launch his business, Roth suggested that he might as well consider the booming genre of horror.
Through Roth, Davis met Blum, who became his mentor and Crypt TV’s first investor.
The #6SecondScare online competition in 2014 was the studios’ earliest success. Because of Roth’s popularity and the help of other celebrities, the game was able to gain massive attention.
In 2015, the studio launched the show Snapchat Murder Mystery, but it wasn’t until the following year that Crypt TV finally had its breakthrough with The Birch.
Crypt TV’s competitor, Quibi, is set to launch in April. It’s a by-subscription streaming service built for millennials with A-listers like Guillermo del Toro, Sam Raimi, and Blum producing its contents.
But it’s safe to say that Crypt TV has gotten a head start.