As the weeks draw on under the Great Shut In, now more than ever are we becoming acquainted with our devices, signing in to and up for streaming services to help the time pass. Within the last month, streaming numbers are up with companies like Netflix, Hulu, Apple, and Amazon. Even newcomers to the streaming wars like Quibi are seeing success reaching viewers. During a time when we can't gather socially, we can still see normal life play out across our screens.

Key Takeways:

  • Streamlytics, launched by Angela Benton in 2018, launches its debut product, clture
  • Issa Rae, minority investor in clture, shared on Instagram a promo for the product aimed at Black creatives to help them earn cash for their content.
  • clture follows the model of cash-for-data insights and research service connecting consumers to advertisers and content creators, letting them control what data gets shared about their streaming behaviors.

What we watch, when we watch it, and how often is rich fodder for marketing and advertising executives who determine how to keep feeding us the shows and content we'll most be attracted to. Traditionally, this information is an open field. 

The collection of it, often without permission, has been at the heart of the beef around data privacy and control. Companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been harnessing our information for years for the free use of their platforms that largely depend on our user-generated content to exist. Of course, we could ditch our devices, and thus big brother, get rid of our smart assistants and throw our smartwatches to the wind. Or we can take control of the bait and switch with big tech and the executives hungry to capture our attention to use our data to build their businesses and get paid for it in the process. 

Enter clture, a platform targeting Black streaming users willing to part with their data for cash. Unleashed as the first product out of Streamlytics, founded by entrepreneur Angela Benton in 2018 with investor Issa Rae, clture has integrated messaging as a way to attract Black creatives tired of creating and crafting culture without benefit. Here's how clture works: A user creates a profile, uploads data they download from each streaming service, and connects two or more devices to the platform as they move along. Thus, clture is able to gather information about streaming behaviors, and Black users get paid for what they currently give away every time they use other platforms. 

Once the user is paid for their data it goes into an API that enhances and cleans the data. All personal information is removed in the process, explains Benton. Organizations can use Streamlytics Analytics platforms to access data in aggregate to help them make better business decisions. Payouts vary based on the value of data determined by Streamlytics' algorithm, says Benton. 

Streamlytics looks at a company's stock performance, market cap, and other determining factors to set pricing. Users can initiate a payout once they hit a balance threshold of $100, and they can opt to be paid monthly (like a paycheck) or quarterly (like a dividend).clture follows the trends of cash-for-data models that call for transparency and ethical practices among data collectors and the companies they hand consumer information to for research and digital focus groups. 

Big players like Universal Basic Data Income launched to the public in December, and Datacoup launched in 2012 but was forced to shutter operations at the end of 2019 as they faced challenges in finding advertisers willing to pay for small pools of data. Whether Benton can do this through Streamlytics' niche targeting of Black consumers alone remains to be seen. 

They've already driven over 10,000 followers over to their Instagram since Rae, a darling at HBO, announced the launch of clture on Friday‚Äîmany of whom we suspect have converted to early users. One strategy that Benton is implementing to draw users to the platform's utility is by aligning her personal and business brands to Black sociocultural issues around how too often Black creatives set trends only to never benefit from them financially.

We saw this play out with the Savage Challenge and Renegade dances created by young Black girls on TikTok. On the other end, Benton sharply aligns herself with the conversation surrounding privacy and surveillance of Black communities. Her digital crusade has included a Change.org petition over the last few weeks asking the Federal Trade Commission to limit location tracking and data sharing as Google and Apple unlock contact tracing via smartphone to help determine coronavirus cases en masse. 

Nearly 14,000 people have since signed the petition. Streamlytics, with its focus on Black consumer streaming behavior, is setting out to assert that the research and data collected through clture is a route toward more than just better advertising opportunities, but a way to help producers create better content that serves the interests and needs of Black viewers.