Martin Sargent on Revision3’s New “Beta” Farm Team

Revision3, which has 20-odd web series that were mostly developed in-house, is making a bet that the next big stars of online video are already making their shows. But those shows are teetering on the edge of obscurity with nobody to help promote and develop them. So the company is launching Revision3 Beta, a “farm team” corralled by Martin Sargent, its director of acquisitions and the host of Internet Superstar.

We talked to Sargent last week about the new project, which pays Revision3 Beta roster members a “generous” upfront payment and revenue share to join the platform. Revision3 will sell ads on the shows and let them use open slots at its San Francisco studio.

The typical Beta show, said Sargent, had on the order of 1,000-2,000 views per episode on YouTube before Rev3 picked it up. And some are already having a bit more success as they’ve been added to the platform in the last few weeks. Your Weekly Music Lesson with Walt, for instance, got over 500 Diggs, according to Sargent.

“Walt — I guarantee he’s going to be a huge star,” said Sargent. “He’s like Gary Vaynerchuk with a guitar.” It’s a good sense of scale to invoke, one where Vaynerchuk, who is huge on the Internet for his Wine Library TV, but hardly a household name, is an icon of success.

Revision3 Beta also gives the company a chance to broaden its focus. “Two of the seven have anything to do with tech,” emphasized Sargent. He also said Rev3 would be open to doing something way out of its comfort zone like fiction.

In terms of logistics, shows are required to use the Viddler video player as their main embed on their sites, but they can put their episodes up anywhere else. Which seems a bit weird as Rev3 has its own player, but only its full-fledged shows use it. There’s no limit on the Revision3 Beta roster — “in another six months we might have 20 more” — though some shows may drop out of the program if they don’t grow. (You can submit your show here.)

Besides Walt, the other six Beta shows at launch are Bottles, Blends and Brews, Hack College, That’s Awesome.TV, The Minx Mandate, The Slice (financial news analysis) and What Should You Know (WSYK).

As for the expectations? “I don’t think we’re expected to make a great deal of money,” said Sargent. “There are people who need exposure and we’re in a position to give them that exposure.”

Disclosure: Revision3 produces The GigaOM Show (which is on hiatus).