Available Thursday, November 4, REAL is an exciting and revolutionary new platform that allows creators to establish their own coin that fans can purchase in order to obtain more direct access to an exclusive and broad range of authentic content. At the time of launch, REAL will be available through its website and via a native iOS app.
“We call REAL the platform where people can get paid to be themselves,” says REAL CEO and founder Ian McLoughlin. “Think of it as a new kind of fan club. It’s a place where people can follow, create and share content with their fans, with the key difference being that creators can restrict content to only those fans who own the coin that they create on the platform. That’s just one of the ways in which REAL distinguishes itself from other platforms currently available.”
Using REAL, fans can accumulate coins that will allow them to access content uploaded by creators. “This content might be early access music, photos, or videos not yet available anywhere else,” says McLoughlin, “or the content could be a simple message telling fans where you’ll be grabbing coffee tomorrow.”
“REAL provides creators with flexibility in how they provide access to their content,” he continues. “The creator can set the parameters as to how little or how much access a fan can have depending on how much of the creator’s coins a fan holds. There’s the opportunity for fans to communicate and collaborate directly with a creator depending on the number of coins they’ve acquired.”
Every creator is an influencer, and fans purchase their coins because they love their work. And like artwork, the value of the Creator’s Coin can change based upon fan demand. The Creator’s Coin can be bought and sold through the platform. REAL has partnered with regulated payment providers to support purchases with a credit card.
Advertising plays a central role in how fans can accumulate coins on REAL. The more ads a fan views, the more funds fans receive on the platform which they can spend to view a creator’s content. “This is a win-win for everybody,” says McLoughlin. “Advertisers get views, fans are compensated directly by advertisers, and the creators are beneficiaries. Any time you see an ad, or your data is shared, you get paid directly for it.” Ads can also be turned off.
For McLoughlin, the idea behind REAL can be traced back to the time when he witnessed his brother, Collin McLoughlin, a talented singer-songwriter and producer, who was seen by millions of viewers on NBC’s The Voice. The TV exposure led to Collin receiving hundreds of millions of plays on Spotify and YouTube, but he was unable to monetize his following.
“Collin ultimately had to give up his musical dreams, and he went into tech,” says McLoughlin. “It was pretty heartbreaking. But I thought, if he had the opportunity to create the ‘Collin Coin,’ then people who bought enough of them could listen to his music early and they could chat with him. It would have given him the chance to have cash in his pocket and pursue his dream.”
He adds, “In many ways, Collin is like a lot of the smaller creators we’ve worked with. For them, finding non-traditional ways to engage more directly with fans is critical to making money.”
Doug Wallace, the COO/CFO of REAL, believes that both the simplicity of the platform and the revenue stream makes it uniquely different from other applications. “It’s a path not only for creators, but also their fans to engage more directly and share their experiences,” he says. “A lot of the other economic models are cumbersome and, one could argue, not necessarily fair. In our model, there’s much more money going to the creators than to the providers of the platform.”
Another key distinction is the authenticity of the content on REAL. Unlike other platforms, REAL has an authenticity mechanism that can detect fraudulent content. “That’s a big problem with a lot of other platforms,” says McLoughlin. “Our goal is to promote as much authentic content as possible, and creators are paid to verify their identities on the platform at launch.”
Additionally, the manner in which content is ranked is based on an entirely new – and fair – practice. Whereas other platforms sometimes pick their creators and push their content, REAL uses a trending algorithm based solely on engagement in a 24-hour period. “There’s no behind-the-scenes tricks going on with us,” says McLoughlin. “If your content is getting viewed more, it’s going to the top. And the newsfeed is chronological, too. Everyone’s treated equally. It doesn’t matter if you’re a famous celebrity or if you’re someone smaller. We’re balancing the playing field.”
Signing up for REAL is free, and both fans and creators will find the platform user-friendly. “The beauty of it all is, the creator is in control,” says McLoughlin. “Fans can have a lot of fun in the process and feel like they’re part of an exciting fan club. REAL is about authentic content where the creator is in control, and the fans are engaged. We think this is the new way forward in social media.”