Nebula Blog

Facts & Fiction

March 19, 2024

Today we’re releasing the biggest update to Nebula since our launch in 2019. More than feature updates, bug improvements, or new shows, this update presents a clear vision of where we come from, who we are, and where we’re going.

The most obvious change you’ll notice is a major UI update, with categories arranged below the hero banner on the Featured page. Those hero images sit larger on the screen — especially on mobile, which is my favorite layout — and video and creator elements are generally larger, giving more prominence to the creators and their work, and making it easier to find new things.


Starting today, categories are getting their own homepages, with specific groups of creators and videos, human-curated video rails, and relevant Originals and updates featured in the hero section at the top.

As we’ve worked to build a recommendation algorithm, we’ve realized that our approach would need to be different from what a user-generated content platform like YouTube would do. Our problem isn’t a need to ensure that quality floats to the top. Our curation and creator vetting process goes a very long way to ensuring a high bar for quality. What we need largely comes down to organization.

By letting viewers pick from categories and category groups, we allow those individual category homepages to act as mini streaming services, not unlike how Disney+ breaks out Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and so on. If you’re a science fan and mainly stick to the science page, it’s a fairly safe bet that you’ll enjoy most of what you see, either from the human-curated rails or from the latest videos feed. Video categories are set by the creators themselves, so as creators evolve and explore, you may see a new face appear on your favorite page that you weren’t expecting.

This approach will also have an impact on how we select the creators we work with, and how we select and develop Nebula Originals.

Content Development

Nebula’s creators cover a wide range of topics and genres, but the core of what has driven us from the beginning is making things that are thoughtful. As we’ve grown, we’ve brought together a truly incredible collection of essayists, journalists, and experts in everything from film criticism to climate science.

As we thought about the role of information and analysis or explainer videos, we thought a lot about context. 91% of millennials and Gen Z — Nebula’s core audience — get their news from social media. With so much of our information literacy driven by headlines and hot takes, it’s easy to passively doomscroll throughout the day and get the sensation of being informed.

But this is what Nebula creators do best: thoughtful synthesis of complex topics. So today we’re taking a step forward in how we present news and current events.

Introducing Nebula News

We get our news from social media, but algorithm-driven news presents its own set of challenges. Nebula News is a new page on Nebula, focusing on the stories affecting you and the world you live in. It provides thoughtful context and analysis for the torrent of news stories you see on social media.

Our creators already cover these stories: timely news and analysis, documentaries on big-picture topics, and reviews and discussion of current media. The earliest iterations of our community were largely made up of creators who told exciting stories with facts. Nebula News is a new layout and philosophy to specifically bring this content forward for people looking to get caught up, or dig deeper into human interest stories.

Our first made-for-news show is War Room, from the RealLifeLore team. Expanding on their wildly popular Modern Conflicts series, War Room will provide context and updates over time for the current status of major conflicts going on across the globe, helping viewers expand and deepen their understanding of geopolitics and stay aware of humanitarian issues even when they don’t grab headlines.

All of our category pages are thoughtfully human-curated by our editorial team, but we knew that News needed something extra. While Nebula News isn’t intended to be your only source of news, the complexity of world events and political changes means that any efforts to veer into the curation of journalism should be managed by journalists. I’m excited to announce that we’ve brought in TLDR’s Jack Kelly as our news director. Jack and his team will oversee the curation of Nebula News, and the development of new News-centric Nebula Original shows. They’ll also be on the lookout for creators doing excellent journalism work, and building new shows and formats tailored specifically to the folks who turn to Nebula News for insights and context.

This is just the beginning. We’ll have a few big creator announcements related to News soon.

Facts and Fiction

As we shift our focus to creating more amazing Nebula Originals, a lot of our creative energy is moving in an exciting new direction: narrative storytelling. We produced Night of the Coconut, the first feature film from Patrick Willems, and the award-winning play The Prince, written by and starring Abigail Thorn, with a number of narrative projects in development like IDENTITEAZE, the short film by Jessie Gender. Most recently we announced Abigail’s follow-up Original, Dracula’s Ex-Girlfriend. The response was so strong that the film became profitable a week later.

Now we find ourselves walking parallel paths, striking a balance between fact-based entertainment and scripted fiction. This is an exciting moment for all of us, and one which opens new doors for what a creator’s career potential can be. Social media video services are great at expanding the audience of reality-style formats, game shows, video essays, and lifestyle shows, but those systems don’t create success pathways for scripted storytelling like sitcoms, dramas, or longer-form comedy. Likewise, algorithmically-generated feeds nudge toward a sort of retention-driven attention economy style of production, making it tricky to escape the gravity of the tropes and formats that bring in the views.

The goal and promise of Nebula is to provide a system for creators to explore and realize their potential. We spent 2023 building processes and teams behind the scenes to better support this vision, and I’m excited to show off a bit of what we’re working on.

First let’s talk facts:


From Tom Nicholas, a feature-length documentary about our aging political leaders, told with his trademark humorous bent. 

The Baltimore Scandal

The true story of a feud between two researchers which threatened to take down a Nobel Prize winner, from Kevan MacKay (BobbyBroccoli).

Pigment of Your Imagination

A docuseries about color, from Sarah Renae Clark. Each episode will explore another surprising facet of how color shapes our reality, featuring guest appearances and interviews with experts.

The Getaway

A brand new Nebula Original series from the producers of Jet Lag: The Game.

War Room

From the team behind RealLifeLore comes an extension of Modern Conflicts: a monthly situation report for ongoing conflicts around the world.

The Wonder of it All

An all-new podcast wherein former Harvey Danger frontman Sean Nelson interviews people whose careers were largely defined by one early, conspicuous success.


Lola Sebastian’s investigative journalism podcast, exploring the scandal that rocked her school.  

And fiction:


From director Patrick Willems, a short horror film about a guy trying to make it through a stressful dinner party at his boss’s house.

Let’s Table This

Created by DC Pierson (Derrick Comedy), a sketch comedy show about sketch comedy shows. A group of comedians (and a rotating celebrity host) sit around the dinner table telling stories and trying to make each other laugh.


A sci-fi short from Jessie Gender about a pair of new hires forced to unravel the mystery of their identity. Starring John de Lancie, Jasika Nicole, Maggie Mae Fish, Ezra Reaves, Darius Rose, Abigail Thorn, and James Tison.

Dracula’s Ex-Girlfriend

Two former rivals who share the same ex — Count Dracula — reconnect over dinner and drinks. Think My Dinner with Andre but with vampires. Directed by Valentina Vee, and starring Abigail Thorn (Star Wars: The Acolyte), Morgana Ignis, and Brandon Rogers (Helluva Boss).

More To Come

This is just the beginning. Last year we brought in Sam Denby as our chief content officer to reconsider the power and potential of Nebula Originals. He’s worked closely with myself and with our production team — led by a former Marvel Studios producer — to build a development pipeline that currently stretches into 2025, and is designed to increase in scope and sophistication organically as budgets grow.

Each project we greenlight now is built to be a step on a path: to level up our creators, our team, and our audience’s expectations. 2024 will be big on short films for the Fiction side for that reason. We’re collecting experience. 

We believe that the next generation of filmmakers and storytellers is already active and creating. What we need is a pipeline — a prestige layer to bridge the gap between social media platforms and traditional film and television. The future of media and entertainment belongs to the creators. If they’re clever, they can sneak in early and take it while Hollywood isn’t looking.

Nebula isn’t a collection of YouTubers building our own little streaming service. We’re assembling a crew for a heist.