SpiritClips.com — making money off Aunt Patsy

We all have that aunt, sister, or cousin — you know, the one who forwards every inspirational story or heartwarming photo of seals kissing she finds online (or that is sent to her by her network of women just like her). Mine is Aunt Patsy. And although we find ourselves deleting many of these emails without reading them, every once in a while, we get suckered into opening the email and either regretting we did or winding up with a tear in our eye.

Right? At least that’s what SpiritClips.com is banking on. This company launched in September with a simple mission: turn these sappy yet moving stories into short films that will warm your heart and hopefully get Aunt Patsy to subscribe to watch (and forward) as many of these videos as she possibly can. SpiritClips has produced a series of videos already and hopes to release a few each month into the deft hands of Aunt Patsy’s everywhere. Newsweek quoted me on the topic just a few weeks back, and I thought it worth amplifying my comments here.

Some valid criticism has been made pointing out that people don’t pay to watch video (unless you’re a laptop warrior buying iTunes videos for the road). Online video is free.

But that’s the whole point with SpiritClips. They don’t need millions of people to pay. They just need a lot of Aunt Patsy’s.

Fewer than a million will do nicely. One sly way SpiritClips hopes to attract more Aunt Patsy’s — they are inviting their audience to submit favorite heartwarming tales for consideration to be produced as high quality short films. A nice twist on user-generated content.

If you click here or on the picture to watch “Sally,” the flagship short film SpiritClips founder Rob Fried invited me to watch when he briefed me on his launch, you’ll see exactly what I mean. (Cool note: Sally is played by Rob Fried’s wife, delightful actress Nancy Travis, whom you may remember as the flighty mother in Three Men and a Baby among many other things.) This content isn’t designed for cool teens or oversexed males as so much of what’s online is. It’s targeted at Aunt Patsy, wherever she may be.

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