Los Angeles Business Journal

Young Turks Crowdfund New Studio

By Natalie Jarvey Monday, December 9, 2013

Three years ago, YouTubers the Young Turks were working out of a small Mid-Wilshire office with low ceilings that would sometimes leak water onto their desks. Now – after a brief stint at the studios of cable’s Current TV – the startup has upgraded to new digs.

TYT Network, a multichannel network that airs episodes of political talk show “The Young Turks,” last month moved into a 6,000-square-foot office in Culver City.

The 30-person company has already built one studio for its main show and is in the process of building out a second studio to produce other shows in the TYT network, said Steve Oh, chief operating officer. The space also has an open work area and a fully stocked bar for events.

Previously, TYT had a deal with Current TV to produce a version of their online political talk show for the cable channel. As part of the deal, the company also operated out of the Culver City studios of Current TV.

Al Jazeera bought Current in January, but did not renew TYT’s contract. So TYT moved into YouTube Space LA for a two month residency until it could find a permanent home.

To help fund the studio build out, TYT turned to its fans. Last week the company completed an Indiegogo campaign that brought in nearly $403,000 from TYT supporters, about $150,000 more than their initial $250,000 goal. The campaign, which was the largest video/web fundraiser on the site to date, offered perks – such as a T-shirt or engraved name on a donor wall – to people who contributed.

TYT budgeted $500,000 for its studio and asked fans for half of that cash, Oh said. Since the campaign surpassed its goal, the company will use the extra cash to help fund the remainder of that budget. The company is also in the process of raising a round of series A funding from investors.

Oh said the company wanted to show its commitment to its YouTube audience by conducting the crowdfunding campaign.

“It shows how important they are to us and how important we are to them,” he said.