Illustration Alumni Launch Game-Changing Animation Platform Fiyah TV

October 1, 2020

The free animation streaming platform upends traditional funding models and provides a global audience to artists seeking fans and support for their work.

How many times have you enjoyed something you received for free and thought, “I would pay for that?” Or wondered how you could support an emerging artist whose work you just discovered? Launched in October 2019, Fiyah TV is a streaming platform dedicated solely to animated series and short films. Designed, built and co-founded by Horacio Hall, ’15 Illustration; Brandon Frazier and Aigbe Idahosa, both ’16 Illustration; and Anthony Sawa, this service for independent animators represents the best of all possible worlds — global variety à la Netflix combined with the unlimited potential for project funding of Kickstarter or subscription-based Patreon.

Unlike those platforms, however, Fiyah TV directly connects creators of animated work — shorts and series — with an audience willing to support what they do. No fees, no minimums (or maximums), no pitches, no subscriptions and no hassles. As a result, Fiyah TV is poised to disrupt traditional models for both streaming services and crowdfunding entities.

Fiyah TV offers its viewers free access to hundreds of hours of animation sourced from around the world, giving indie animators the opportunity to capture audiences — and potential funders — to which they might never have gained access. Animators can begin uploading their work within minutes of arriving at the site, and the home page features a specially curated livestream for viewers who are just browsing or want to discover something new. If a viewer likes what they see, they can make a donation to support a particular animator’s work; 90 percent of all funds donated go directly to the content creator.

“The key goal is to decentralize how animators get their funding,” Idahosa said, noting that little-known animators have typically been burdened with creating and marketing their work. “What we’re doing is building mechanisms that will help animators be able to get the funding they need when they need it, while also giving back to the people in the global community who support that.”

After graduating from CCS, Hall worked on comic books while Idahosa did tech work in downtown Detroit. Both distinguished themselves while still undergraduates when, along with alumnus Scott Kreutzcamp, ’15 Entertainment Arts, they successfully pitched Wayne State University’s capstone program and assigned three student programmers which they were to oversee for the completion of their augmented reality motion comics project. The trio snagged first place in WSU’s inaugural Student Design and Innovation Day.

Fast-forward to 2019. Prior to co-founding Fiyah TV, Idahosa, Frazier and Hall had become frustrated by the industry they were so passionate about. The animation market was saturated, Hall noted, and good gigs were highly competitive. Without that access, artists are often toiling away for hundreds of hours, receiving little pay and even less recognition, especially from the channels currently dominating the market.

But the savvy use of social media, a lot of guerilla marketing and the platform’s recent sponsorship of a 48-hour Launch Contest has brought more than 200 animators working in various genres to the Fiyah TV’s roster.

CCS students Anthony Jackson and Berat Ljumani took second place and $1200 in the contest for their series Mutton Chop! The World’s Strongest Sheep! “The humor was really clever,” Hall said, explaining what distinguished the students’ shorts. “They merged great action, great humor and great animation. And then it’s also very professionally done as well as marketable.”

“I hope that it can become a global streaming service like Netflix, Hulu, Disney — a media giant in itself, but a media giant for the little guy,” Idahosa said, emphasizing that Fiyah TV provides an outlet for getting animators’ work seen by fans on a broad scale.

“It serves as a proving ground for a lot of animators,” Hall explained, “and we never want to forget about the little guy because we were him. I was working 16 hours a day at my desk to make $300 a month for a chapter. We can’t do it for everybody, but we want to pull in as many animators as we can.”