Celebrating 17 Years of Film.Biz.Fans.
by Bryce J. Renninger
August 16, 2013 1:18 PM
9 Comments
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Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Seed & Spark? Comparing Crowdfunding Platform Success Rates When It Comes to Film Projects

Filmmakers have a growing number of choices when deciding which crowdfunding platform, if any, to use.  We were curious to see how the different platforms compared, and so when an Indiegogo launched a search tool that allows you to see project performance (as pointed out by Adrianne Jeffries in her piece for the Verge), we decided to see how film projects panned out on three different platforms.

The headline for Jeffries' piece, "Indie no-go: only one in ten projects gets fully funded on Kickstarter's biggest rival," forgets that many project creators go to Indiegogo because they don't know what a good goal is for their campaign. Indiegogo's model allows for project creators to take home money no matter how much they raise.

While Jeffries estimates that less than 10% on Indiegogo make their goal, it's not easy to get an exact number. The number is definitely below 13.68%, as that's the portion of film projects that make at least 75% of their goal.

READ MORE: Are You Really Ready to Crowdfund? Here Are 8 Tips from Filmmakers Who've Been There

Earlier this week, Kickstarter's success rate was 39.91%. It's hard to say the exact difference, but one element that probably explains a lot is the psychological pressure that an all-or-nothing model puts on both creators and backers. If the creator takes home money no matter what, what's the reason to stress out and bang down all possible doors? Creators, like the actor Shemar Moore, sometimes go to Indiegogo after they realized that their Kickstarter goal is not reasonable.

It should be noted that for all-or-nothing campaigns on all platforms, once 20% of the goal is raised, a great number of projects raise their goal. This may not be fully attributable to the pressure on backers to donate; as we reported after an anonymous survey to people who have run or watch closely crowdfunding campaigns, many creators arrange for donors to send them over the top should they be far away from making their goal.

Below are success numbers from Indiegogo, Kickstarter and new entry Seed & Spark. Let us know in the comments what you notice and what questions these numbers leave you.

INDIEGOGO (extracted from a search on August 7, using a previous version of this search engine page, which has now been changed to make it impossible to search specifically for projects that have not raised more than 50% of their goal.)

Indiegogo allows projects to choose between flex funding and fixed funding.  The creator gets to keep donations no matter what when they choose the Flex Funding option; however, creators must make their goal to receive their donations if they choose the Fixed Funding option.  Indiegogo takes 4% if the project makes a goal, no matter what.  If a Flex Funding project doesn't make its goal, though, Indiegogo takes 9%. 

Total:  25934 projects

0-25%: 18587 (71.67%)
25-50%: 2534 (9.77%)
50-75%: 1266 (4.88%)
75-100+%: 3547 (13.68%)

Flex Funding

Total: 25465 projects

0-25%: 18232 (71.60%)
25-50%: 2534 (9.95%)
50-75%: 1266 (4.97%)
75-100+%: 3433 (13.48%)

Fixed Funding

Total: 469 projects

0-25%: 355 (75.69%)
25-50%: 0 (0%)
50-75%: 0 (0%)
75-100+%: 114 (24.31%)

KICKSTARTER (extracted from this page on August 14)

All Kickstarter campaigns are all-or-nothing.  Kickstarter takes 5% of donations if the project succeeds.

Total: 27787 projects

0%: 3476 (12.5%)
1-20%: 10631 (38.29%)
21-40%:  1755 (6.3%)
41-60%:  569 (2.05%)
61-80%: 185 (.67%)
81-99%:  80 (.29%)
100+%:  11091 (39.91%)

SEED & SPARK (as of August 15, from Seed & Spark founder Emily Best)

Seed & Spark allows creators to ask for in-kind donations or rentals in addition to cash donations.  Projects must raise 80% of their goal, though, in order to receive their funds. Seed & Spark takes a 5% fee from successful campaigns.

Total: 38 projects

0-25%: 13 (34.21%)
25-50%: 1 (2.63%)
50-79%: 0 (0%)
80-100+%: 24 (63.16%), with 10 raising above 100%

Of those who made their goal, the average raised is 91% of ask. 

13 of the 24 successful projects took an average of 21% loans of goods and services. 

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9 Comments

  • Jason Vitug | October 11, 2013 1:07 PMReply

    We researched both platforms until we found that Indiegogo would be our only choice. Kickstarter would have considered us a social network.

    We recently have been successful in reaching our fund goal. We raised $78,501 of our $75,000 with 541 backers in 30 days. http://igg.me/at/Phroogal/x/4651509

    It was definitely a lot of work but we kept at it. We never did get any press or direct support from Indiegogo. We felt if we were featured on the frontpage and shared via their channels we would have more than exceeded goal.

  • nick kovaleski | September 5, 2013 9:28 PMReply

    as a Venture Support teammate for StartSomeGood I would love to see our organization included in discussions like this.

    send us a message to receive information on our success rates.

    thanks,

    nick

  • Duane Edwards | August 24, 2013 1:21 PMReply

    Looking for advise please!.
    I had my indie film SUPREME RULERS press release come out on deadline Hollywood in Feb.2012 with an academy award winning actress attached, great cast please check it out.
    I was confident with the cast I had assembled we would find the funding of 2M thru the traditional Hollywood route, well it never happened. I’m now looking for what crowd funding site I should consider.

  • Kalpesh Makwana | August 22, 2013 8:19 AMReply

    This is a nice research done by Bryce. Actually, I was also searching statistical data of kickstarter and indiegogo to write comparison article for my website fundraisingscript.com

    But not getting proper information. Your Article providing whole info with one more site's(seed & spark) comparison.

    Thanks for the superb, well-researched and written article.

  • PETER D | August 21, 2013 6:57 PMReply

    I spent a long time trying to analyse the stats for IndieGoGo vs Kickstarter when I was contemplating crowdfunding and talking to people who helped run successful campaigns, but remain sceptical about the alleged benefits of the "all or nothing" model. Looking at Kickstarter I get the impression that people lower their expectations - for the obvious reasons that if they overreach themselves they will end up with nothing. This is reflected in the growing vogue for successful campaigns suddenly coming up with "stretch goals", i.e. "Actually we really needed more money but didn't think we could get it". By contras,t when I was at a panel discussion with some people who had part-funded their features via crowdfunding, I looked up one of the panelists on IndieGoGo and realised they actually only raised $40,000 of their $75,000 target. Nonetheless, it was enough to mean the film could go into production. I see no reason to believe that the "Kickstarter effect" would have magicked an extra $35K out of the air. If this truly happened one would expect to find a major difference between how many films on IndieGoGo achieve all or most of their goal when you compare Flex and Fixed funding - but there isn't. Perhaps there are just more lazy campaigners on the site... Most campaigns are aiming for very small amounts in film terms but I would be interested to know what percentage campaigns on any site (not mounted by celebrities) achieve targets of $20,000+, which is the kind of level any feature-makers will be at. That would say a lot. One thing is clear: most campaigns do very well or very badly, without much in the middle.

  • Anne Flournoy | August 16, 2013 4:41 PMReply

    I successfully crowdfunded Season 3 of my comedy web series The Louise Log on Seed&Spark in May, raising 82% of what we were asking for (over $22,000).

    Having heard that it's easy to get lost in the shuffle on either of the others, the size of Seed&Spark and the film-passionate team running it weighed heavily in my decision to go with them. I'm very happy I did.

    Bonus: Seed&Spark is much more than a crowdfunder: it's also a distribution platform. Once you've finished a film, you can upload it to their website and start making money. In addition, CEO Emily Best runs regular tweetchats during which filmmakers can meet and discuss #filmcurious topics without having to leave their desks. And the Seed&Spark website has a feature to facilitate finding crew and cast from other alums/supporters. If you haven't seen their razor sharp promo video, watch it. It'll explain everything: https://vimeo.com/58726755

  • sydney | August 16, 2013 3:26 PMReply

    International CrowdFund Film Festival. ICFFF.org brings together artists, filmmakers, and video game creators to meet in San Francisco this October 2 to 6
    http://icfff.org/

  • Morrie Warshawski | August 16, 2013 2:45 PMReply

    The stats would be much more useful if film/video/media projects could be isolated for their success rates vs. those of other types of projects. Another platform I'd love to see stats for is USAprojects.org, which recently eliminated its fees to artists.

  • Bryce J. Renninger | August 16, 2013 2:53 PM

    All of these numbers are for film & video only.