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Would You Pay to Watch Videos About Videos? Screen Junkies Thinks You Will.

Another new video subscription service. This one costs $5 a month, via Defy Media.

Screen Junkies
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

The Web video world is heading in two different directions at the same time: Lots of people want you to watch their videos for free, whether you asked to see them or not. And an increasing number of people want you to pay to watch their videos.

Here’s a new member of the second group: Defy Media, which until now has made a living distributing free, dude-centric videos on YouTube and other platforms, is launching a subscription service. Next week, Defy will launch Screen Junkies Plus, a $5 per month service that will focus on pop culture commentary and satire, featuring stuff from the creators of Defy franchises like Honest Trailers and Movie Fights.

Those shows will continue to produce free stuff for YouTube and other sites, but will also begin making subscription-only programs for Defy’s new channel.

Most paid video services tend to either offer special access to celebrities with huge followings (like YouTube giant PewDiePie’s new show, coming next year), or access to a library of conventional TV shows and movies (Netflix, Hulu, etc.). Defy seems like it’s going down the middle lane with this one: Its shows, like Honest Trailers, tend to be commentaries or riffs about other people’s shows.

And its first scripted show, “Interns of F.I.E.L.D,” is a parody of ABC’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” starring Jamie Kennedy, Jonathan Lipnicki, and Casper Van Dien — all of whom saw their fame peak in the pre-Snapchat era.

But Defy President Keith Richman argues that there’s a big audience for this stuff. “This is a demographic that travels to Comic-Con” — the annual comic, adventure and action fanfest in San Diego — “and pays to get in,” he said.

Speaking of money: Industry sources say Defy, like everyone else in the digital media world that hasn’t raised a big round recently, is out looking to raise a big round. Richman wouldn’t comment when I asked him about that.

Last year, Defy sold a 20 percent stake to Viacom.

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