A serial entrepreneur might have just the ticket to help sports arenas and other venues make money from fans who would rather stay home.
Jermon Green is rolling out Be There on Demand, a web-based company that allows a venue to stream live or taped content on the Internet. The company provides the technical know-how (such as storage and bandwidth) and will even lend a camera crew – for a fee.
And he’s thinking big, going after blockbuster performers and trying to line up a dedicated channel on cable outlets.
“Take Beyonce or Britney Spears, for example,” Green explained recently. “They have millions of fans, but not everyone can go to the concert. If the promotions are done right, potentially a million people could sign up and watch [a concert].”
Green, a dapper and tireless 29-year-old, provides each venue with a dedicated section of his website, bethereondemand.com.
Users then pay to watch the videos, perhaps as much as half the ticket price. Green will split the revenue with the venue. That means he can pitch a university sports program, a concert venue or even a church an opportunity to wring out additional revenue that – should it fail – costs nothing.
Sounds like it could be the next Facebook, right?
As any entrepreneur can attest, though, everybody has great ideas, and it’s overcoming the challenges that separate the dreamers from the doers.
Green’s immediate challenge is getting the proper permissions. Right now, he is working the phones and flying to New York to iron out agreements with various trade groups and unions so that concerts and stage shows can be broadcast. Each entity wants a cut off the top, he said. And then there are the record labels. They want a cut, too.
When it comes to broadcasting sports, Green ran into another problem. VCU basketball coaches were worried about opponents seizing the tapes and watching extra game film.
“I had a contact person. He went and told the coaches. Now I want to be the point of contact for everybody,” Green said. “You have to deliver the message yourself. It’s a learning experience.”
And then there is the audience. Green has to bring viewers to the site to watch the videos. To tackle that issue, he’s talking to a friend who works at the Martin Agency to line up a marketing plan, which he said could involve billboards and GRTC buses, at least in Richmond.
Be There on Demand now has about 15 workers. Green is looking for a headquarters that has the right mix of access for contractors vans and suitable office space.
For customers, the product costs vary based on how much they need and the possible payout, but can be as low as $250 per month, Green said.
Green projects he can be earning $100,000 a month in revenue within the first year. His strategy involves letting venues try the service at no cost to build buzz.
The company can also tap into existing video systems and can accommodate high definition.
Green invested $150,000 in the company, including some funds that he received from a settlement from Philip Morris, where he worked and lost his sense of smell. He expects to be breaking even by December. He’s meeting with a local investor but so far is flying solo.
This is not his first endeavor. He was featured in Virginia Business magazine at age 19 for Ellians, a company that aimed to build an ATM/debit/credit card register for the express lane in fast-food restaurants.
Aaron Kremer is the BizSense Editor. He covers startups. Please send story ideas to [email protected].