May 25, 2024
Runway unveils Creative Partners Program


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RunwayML, the New York City-based startup that’s raised hundreds of millions in venture funding to develop generative AI video creation tools, has announced it will begin granting a select group of users early access to new features and and AI models.

The company announced its new Runway Creative Partners Program on X (formerly Twitter), writing “This program provides a select group of artists and creators with exclusive access to new Runway tools and models, Unlimited plans, 1 million credits, early access to new features and more.”

“It’s all about being in the right place at the right time,” Runway CEO and founder Cristóbal Valenzuela posted on X.

What the new Creative Partners Program offers

On its website, Runway goes into more detail about what the Creative Partners Program will offer. Among the features are “direct access to the Runway team,” and “priority access to Runway Studios grants.”

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Runway’s pricing structure requires using several proprietary credits to generate each video through its Gen-1 and Gen-2 multimodal video generation AI tools (users can generate videos from existing videos, text prompts, and imagery).

While it does have a free tier with 125 non-renewable credits, the Standard Plan costs $12 per month per user for 625 credits that renew each month, while the Unlimited Plan tier costs $76 per user per month, but grants each user 2250 credits/month of video generations in Gen-1 and Gen-2, and unlimited credits in a slower “relaxed” generation mode.

A major win for users

Therefore, the Creative Partners Program offering “complimentary” Unlimited plans and a million credits to start is a major win for potential users.

In addition, the company has continually updated and expanded its gen AI offerings, moving from the text-to-video Gen-1 release in February of this year, to a video-to-video Gen 1 mobile app in April, to the release of the text/video/image-to-video Gen-2 for desktop and mobile in June. Just this month, the company released a new “Watch” tab to show off the video creations of its users, similar to YouTube.

Therefore, it stands to reason that the company will have more new features and services soon — and it is promising to give them to those accepted into its Creative Partners Program first.

How do you get into Runway’s Creative Partners Program?

The company is for now open to considering seemingly all and any applicants, asking them to fill out a form on its website with fields for the user’s name, pronouns, portfolio and social media accounts.

When it comes to who is eligible, a Runway spokesperson emailed VentureBeat the following statement:

“Anyone from anywhere in the world is welcome to apply. We’re looking for creators who are using AI tools and techniques to push the boundaries of creativity. It’s not required to have a paid Runway account to be admitted.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis over the coming weeks and months, and creators who are accepted will announce their involvement to their own communities at their discretion.”

The obvious comparison to Runway is increasingly YouTube, although the latter is of course not limited to, nor does it presently offer, gen AI video creation tools and videos.

But YouTube paved the way for creating a robust ecosystem of amateur (and pro) video creators, which it sought to nurture and continues to support through its YouTube Partner Program (YPP), which allows creators to monetize their videos through subscriptions, e-commerce affiliate links and product mentions, advertising, digital stickers and more.

YouTube itself funded several higher production TV shows and films through its YouTube Originals brand, including the Karate Kid spinoff Cobra Kai, although YouTube ultimately canceled its scripted development arm and that series was later canceled and picked up by rival Netflix.

It’s unclear just how much of YouTube’s playbook Runway may seek to emulate, but launching a Creative Partners Program is a similar starting move for creating a thriving creator ecosystem, and seems like the necessary first step in making the dominant AI video platform.

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