Tubi Gives Emerging Filmmakers and Fans a Voice With Stubios

The new platform puts 'greenlight power into the hands of the viewers' and gets brands involved

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Thanks to a diverse media library and no financial barrier to entry, Tubi has emerged as the streamer of choice among a new generation of content consumers. Now, the Fox-owned FAST service seeks to extend its purple reign over that prized demographic by giving a leg-up to a new generation of content creators.

Enter Stubios, an original initiative that grants Tubi’s young audience a big say in generating the original long-form content they’ll want to stream. Launching today, Stubios invites emerging creatives to apply to be Stubiorunners and take those all-important first steps toward making their first feature film or docuseries a reality on a big-time streaming platform.

Meanwhile, Tubi watchers can be a part of their journey by signing up for a free Stubios account and registering their opinions about various aspects of the production—be it the cast or the first trailer—as it takes shape. They’ll also provide the final say for whether each Stubiorunner gets a second bite at the proverbial Hollywood apple.

Tubi, a former NewFronts presenter known for reaching new audiences, will closely monitor fan engagement and viewership numbers. Once a certain threshold is reached, the creator’s sophomore project gets an automatic greenlight.

“Essentially, we’re passing the camera to anyone who has a story to tell, and we’re putting the greenlight power into the hands of the viewers,” Tubi CMO Nicole Parlapiano told ADWEEK. “We’re describing Stubios as a fan-fueled studio that’s also a platform for aspiring filmmakers and their fans.”

Freshman class

Since this is Stubios’ pilot season, Tubi is piloting the program with three out of the four inaugural Stubiorunners already selected. One member of the 2024 freshman class is Lady London, a Bronx-born rapper whose freestyles regularly go viral online. She’s pitching a docuseries that takes fans inside the recording studio as she puts together her first album.

Tubi plans to release details about the other two pre-selected Stubiorunners later this month and is keeping the fourth and final spot open for a “wild card” candidate to emerge from the application process. But the platform already knows the kind of creator it wants to spotlight.

two smartphones showing stubios screengrabs
Stubios gives emerging creators a platform.Tubi

“They don’t come from Hollywood, but might come from Wattpad or TikTok,” Fox CTO Melody Hildebrandt said of what Tubi is looking for in a Stubiorunner. “They all have social followings, but they’re not expected to be in front of the camera necessarily. The guiding ethos of this is ‘no barriers.’

“We feel we have this opportunity to allow creatives to deliver their content to Hollywood with no barriers, which is the aspiration for so many of them,” she added. (It’s worth noting that even though Tubi has a robust catalog of international offerings, the Stubios program is—for now at least—only open to U.S. creators.)

According to Hildebrant, Stubiorunners will receive a flat fee for their intellectual property, an executive producer credit and additional compensation for the other hats they wear as their project comes together, be it screenwriter, director or star—or all of the above. And their content generation won’t be limited to the finished product. Parlapiano said fans will be given a behind-the-scenes pass as part of their role as Stubios producers.

“We’re going to pull up the curtain, and they’re going to get to see everything that happens,” she explained. “Fans are a part of the process and a part of the decision-making as well. There’s a ton of curiosity into how all of this gets done, and it’s usually behind a closed door. We’re really excited for fans to have a voice here.”

Because betting on Hollywood outsiders can be a gamble, Tubi thought it would be helpful to have an insider show them the ropes. That’s why Issa Rae and her management company, ColorCreative, have been enlisted to provide mentorship and production support as Lady London and her fellow Stubiorunners navigate the transition from social media to an established streamer.

It’s a career jump that Rae has some experience with—after all, her hit HBO series, Insecure, started its life as a YouTube sensation, The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl.

“We know Issa’s success story,” said Parlapiano, adding that Tubi might explore bringing in other mentors to oversee future cohorts. “She’s also been quite vocal about how we haven’t seen a ton more Issa Raes in the current environment, and that’s a shame. She’s very interested in helping these first-time filmmakers from a value perspective.”

Rae’s partnership comes as she also launches Ensemble, a new branded entertainment studio that champions unrecognized artists.

Issa Rae in a white dress
Issa Rae will serve as mentor to the first cohort of Stubiorunners. Courtesy ColorCreative / Tyren Redd. Tubi

Bring in the brands

Stubios isn’t just for creators and fans—it’s also for brands. Parlapiano said that “active discussions” are being had with advertisers about how they can best reach the prized Gen Z demographic this new platform is designed to empower.

“There are very different habits with this generation across the board when it comes to marketing,” she observed, noting that a traditional 15- or 30-second ad wouldn’t be the ideal Stubios experience.

Instead, Tubi is exploring more “endemic integrations” like featuring a product or service in the preproduction content or via a larger role in the finished film or series.

“It could be one brand sponsor for the whole thing, or it could be on a project-by-project basis,” Parlapiano said. “We’re really interested in brands that are open to trying something and are a bit more social-forward in their approach.”

A desire to reach Tubi’s multicultural audience is another must for any advertiser intrigued by the Stubios platform.

“Diversity is integral to the Tubi audience, and we wouldn’t be serving this audience if Stubios didn’t feature a diverse cohort of creators,” Parlapiano said, also making clear that the program doesn’t exist to tick a DEI box for brands. “What viewers like about Tubi is that they can find stories where they really feel seen. It’s definitely not a one-off initiative.”

Looking ahead, Parlapiano expects each successive Stubios creative cohort to innovate on what’s come before, adding that “the more variation we have, the more we’re set up for success.”

“The main thing is to not overengineer it,” she continued. “We really want Stubios to be a completely democratized platform where creators and fans are both participating. We’re looking for this to be self-sustaining going forward.”

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