STAR TREK Image from Axanar Indiegogo campaign’s pitch video.

Axanar Indiegogo Details

Main article: Crowdfunding Platforms
See also: Prelude Kickstarter Details and Axanar Kickstarter Details

This is an analysis of the publicly available information about Axanar’s Indiegogo campaign, launched in July 2015, and concluded in January 2016 after the filing of a copyright infringement lawsuit against Axanar Productions and executive producer Alec Peters by CBS and Paramount Pictures.

This third crowdfunding effort by Axanar had now moved to Kickstarter’s rival, Indiegogo, which, by Peters’ account, had courted Axanar with a significant financial incentive. The ambition of a $1.32 million goal was matched by an expansion of the commercial scope of Axanar Productions beyond just the production of Axanar.

About the Indiegogo Data

The campaign ended with a total $574,434 raised from 7,660 donors. However, 1,102 people appeared to donate $69,789 without selecting perks, so the amount each contributed was not publicly disclosed. Each average undisclosed donation, however, is about $63.

This is one in a series of AxaMonitor articles examining Axanar’s crowdfunding efforts, its spending, its goals and how it has reported on those activities. The entire series is listed here.

Donations Divvied Up

ACCOUNTABILITY graphic from Axanar’s 2015 Indiegogo campaign page.

Consequently, the analysis below is based only on the total raised from donors who did choose perks ($504,645).1)

The following figures demonstrate:

  • Donors of small amounts (under $100) made up more than three-fourths of the total number of those who supported Axanar (Figure 1).
  • However, those small donations only made up 40 percent of the total dollars raised (Figure 2).
  • Just a sliver of donors (25, or 0.4 percent) made contributions of more than $1,000 (Figure 1). In fact, just seven donated $50,000 — 10 percent of what was raised from perk-picking contributors.
  • Those 25 donors contributed almost one-fifth of the dollars raised (Figure 2).
  • Meanwhile, mid-level donors (between $100-$600) were only a quarter of those who supported the campaign (Figure 1), but made up 43 percent of the total dollars raised (Figure 2).

Click on image to view full size.

Distribution of Donors

The following chart displays the number of donors distributed across the 29 funded levels offered by the campaign.

Top 5 Perks

Rotate mobile device for best view of chart

Based on the data in Figure 3 below, the Top 5 perks selected by donors were:

Amount Reward No. of Donors
1. $25 Download of Axanar 2,198
2. $75 Axanar Blu-ray 1,030
3. $150 Axanar Deluxe Blu-ray 875
4. $35 Starfleet Fourth Fleet patch 414
5. $10 Backers page, access to Donors’ Store 475
Top 5 perks raised $281,920 (56 percent of total) from 4,915 donors (75 percent of total)

Figure 3

Click on image to view full size.

Rotate mobile device for best view of chart

High-End Perks

These are the rewards offered to the highest-paying contributors:

Amount Reward No. of Donors
$10,000 Associate producer on set 3
$5,000 Associate producer upgrade 1
$5,000 Extra in Axanar 3
$4,000 Ultimate collectors pack 1
$2,500 Production assistant for 1 week 6
These 14 people contributed $69,000 (14 percent of the total)
GRAPHIC PLEA This banner makes the plea to fund Axanar through its now-curtailed Indiegogo campaign.

Change in Character

Main article: Axanar Indiegogo Details
See also: Fan Films: Breaking the Unwritten Rules and Defining Profit

The move from Kickstarter to Indiegogo in 2015 marked not only a change in platform but a significant increase in producer Alec Peters’ estimate of Axanar‘s cost as well as plans for Ares Studios, an effort for commercial production of other science fiction properties and rental of the production facilities paid for with donor money.

Move to Indiegogo

Kickstarter, where Axanar had raised $739,642 — the most of any fan film — and Indiegogo operate on very similar business models: Run a time-limited campaign, if you meet your goal you get all the money pledged, minus a percentage to the crowdfunding platform and transaction fees to the company who handle payments. But Indiegogo offered several advantages to Axanar over Kickstarter.

Keeping All Pledges

Kickstarter operates on an “all or nothing” basis — campaigns that fail to meet their goals lose all the money that’s been pledged to them. Indiegogo allows campaigns that don’t meet their fiscal goals to keep everything that’s been pledged but with the platform taking a larger percentage of the proceeds.

Indiegogo's Flexibility

While both platforms offer maximum campaign lengths of 60 days2) 3), Indiegogo offers an “In Demand” category for select projects, allowing them to raise money indefinitely, and the platform offered Axanar that designation.

[Indiegogo] love Axanar and really want our business and so have come with an aggressive offer to woo us away from Kickstarter.4)

Also on the table was:

  • A $35,000 savings in fees if Axanar exceeded $1 million.
  • Accepting both credit cards and PayPal. Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments for financial transactions.

Peters was also persuaded by the success of the year’s two biggest film projects, Super Troopers II, which raised $4.5 million, and Con Man, which raised $3.2 million — both on Indiegogo.5)

He also announced his intention to run at least four more crowdfunding campaigns and wanted to compare his successes between the two platforms:

With us planning on probably four campaigns next year (two books and “Tales of the Four Years War,” to start), we can see how each platform does. No decisions have been made, but I thought I would keep you all updated. I believe in a free flow of information and transparency.6)

'Axanar's' Cost Rises

See also: Ambition vs. Achievement

With each successive (and successful) crowdfunding campaign, the cost to produce Axanar continued to increase, in large measure because of the decision to build its own commercial studio. Studio expenses alone consumed 38 percent of the proceeds from the second Kickstarter campaign.7)

“This decision changed Axanar dramatically,” Peters explained. “In the end, it was agreed that more time and more money would equal greater quality.”8)


ARES DIGITAL is a for-profit company created by Axanar Productions with co-producer Terry McIntosh to process and ship merchandise (known as “perks”) to donors of any project’s Kickstarter, Indiegogo and private donation campaigns.

Commercial Activities

See also: Merchandise

Building his own studio, which he named Ares Studios, also presented Peters with an economic opportunity. He would now have a permanent facility to produce not only more “independent Star Trek productions” but to earn income from renting out the facility and from Ares’ own original films, which would be freed from the intellectual property restrictions of fan films.9)

Axanar is not just an independent Star Trek film; it is the beginning of a whole new way that fans can get the content they want, by funding it themselves. Why dump hundreds or thousands of dollars a year on 400 cable channels, when what you really want is a few good sci-fi shows? Hollywood is changing. Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other providers are redefining content delivery, and Axanar Productions/Ares Studios hopes to be part of that movement.10)
NO COMMENT In his interview with TrekZONE, Alec Peters refused to say whether he was part of the investor group acquiring the assets of the former Area Studios YouTube.

In March 2016, Peters announced the Ares Studios assets were to be transferred to a secret group of investors for up to $400,000 that would go into the production of Axanar. At the time, and in a video interview with TrekZONE, Peters refused to say whether he was part of that investment group.

Even so, by May 2016 Peters felt he was sufficiently empowered to offer a 2 percent stake in the studio to departed chief technologist Terry McIntosh in exchange for the Ares Digital fulfillment software.

The crowdfunding campaigns had required Axanar to set up a full-fledged merchandising and fulfillment operation featuring a full line of Star Trek-based apparel, five blends of coffee, posters, artwork, patches, models and books in a Donors’ Store, which Peters realized presented a potential revenue stream he launched with co-producer McIntosh called Ares Digital.11)

However, Ares Digital utterly failed to enable Axanar to deliver promised perks to its donors, forcing the production to start its fulfillment efforts from scratch.


Source Data

Download the source documents for the series of articles. The data was assembled into spreadsheets from publicly accessible information made available by the crowdfunding platforms and/or the Axanar Annual Report. Click on the citation number to access the downloadable spreadsheets. 12)

Submit Findings

Readers who make interesting findings by sorting the crowdfunding and financial data on their own are invited to submit them to AxaMonitor. Please use the Feedback page to submit new information. Thank you!

2)
Kickstarter Creator FAQs, retrieved 3/6/16.
7)
AxaMonitor Annual Report analysis, "Axanar Spending by Category".
10)
Axanar Indiegogo campaign, retrieved 3/6/16.
12)
Download Excel spreadsheet with data from Axanar crowdfunding campaigns on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Also, the Axanar Financials spreadsheet summarizes data from the Axanar Annual Report, 2015, Revised, and the data used to generate charts in the Ambition vs. Achievement article.