American Stories Entertainment

Early Stage

Unique stories of real people


Raised to Date: Raised: $588,119

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DUNEDIN, Florida


Media, Entertainment & Publishing

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American Stories Entertainment, with a pre-money valuation of $28.4 million, is raising crowdfunding on TruCrowd. The company tells unique stories of real people and covers different lifestyles, including fishing, sports, hunting, and survival strategies. The company creates and controls its own shows and films in small and medium-sized towns. Tony McKnight and Robert Cefail founded American Stories Entertainment in December 2020. The current round of crowdfunding has a minimum raise of $10,000 and a maximum raise of $1,000,000, and the funds will be used for show production, distribution, and marketing. American Stories Entertainment is building a series of distribution channels for its content and aims to create diversity for its content.

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Financials as of: 01/20/2021
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Analyst Report


Perhaps unsurprisingly, political polarization in the United States is growing, fueled in part by leadership over the past few years. A recent study out of Brown University suggests this is “because, since the 1970s, major political parties have become increasingly aligned with certain ideologies, races and religious identities. For example, Republicans are now more likely to be religious, while Democrats are more likely to be secular.” With this schism comes devotion to media and press that more closely aligns with individual morals and beliefs. 

American Stories Entertainment (ASE) is targeting conservative viewership with TV and online programming centered around small towns and activities like hunting and fishing, modeling what it calls “the Duck Dynasty Effect.” The company is currently raising funds on TruCrowd to power end-to-end content creation. Specifically, the team plans to create original content tailored to conservative values. The studio plans to do it all, beginning with content creation up through sales and marketing. The team is led by Tony McKnight, former founder of Big Daddy Unlimited. Shark Tank investor Kevin Harrington has joined the team as a Strategic Advisor.

American Stories Entertainment’s current TruCrowd raise has been rated an Underweight Deal by the KingsCrowd investment team.


American Stories is raising common shares at a valuation that is excessive. At this stage — less than two months into its operations — ASE is raising at a $28,410,737 valuation cap. Not only is this amount quite high in comparison to other startups currently seeking investors, the company also has no revenue to justify it. Thus, the price score for ASE is very low.


There’s no question that ASE has a sizable target market. Around 60 million Americans live in the rural areas targeted by ASE, about one-fifth of the total population. The television market is somewhat challenging to measure, as streaming services like Netflix and YouTube have slowly sapped the consumer base of traditional broadcasting. However, the US traditional broadcasting market is estimated at $58.9 billion in 2021. Video streaming in the US — including film, television shows, and non-traditional media — is projected to reach $32.082 billion in revenue during the same year. Due to the size of these respective markets, ASE scores most highly overall in the market metric.


American Stories Entertainment is headed by co-founder Tony McKnight. McKnight is an outspoken advocate for American gun rights, and he owns Big Daddy Unlimited — an online gun store — with his wife. He is also president of Big Daddy Health, a health products distributor. He has several years of experience in general sales and health product distribution, including a six-year stint with Jeunesse Global that concluded just as he started up ASE. 

Co-founder Robert Cefail is something of a mystery. Cefail is the owner of CShop TV, a website that connects advertisers with celebrities to punch up their marketing to viral levels. He spent several years as president and CEO of Robert Cefail & Associates, about which little information can be found online. 

Stephen Eckelberry is the company’s senior vice president of entertainment production. Eckelberry has a long freelance career in the television industry and holds fifty editor and producer credits for various independent productions going back to 1989. He has produced for big names such as Bruce Willis and Scarlett Johansson, though such collaborations do not appear to be the norm, and has found moderate success in independent film festivals.

Finally, Kevin Harrington is ASE’s strategic partner and will host one of its startup-oriented shows. Harrington may be familiar to some as one of the original “sharks” on ABC’s Shark Tank, though he left after two seasons on the show. Harrington is a serial entrepreneur and business executive who holds the distinction of inventing the modern infomercial in 1985. He is perhaps most prominently known as one of the co-creators of the As Seen on TV brand and has published his own book. He owns Harrington Enterprises, which consults and owns a number of businesses. 

Overall, the team is certainly well-oriented to its target audience and has an encouraging level of relevant experience among its members. The team score for ASE is above average as a result of these factors.


ASE has little to recommend itself on the differentiation front. The network has no established franchises, nor any established partnerships with advertisers. It’s simply too early for such things, but the company will be absolutely required to retain viewers in order to become profitable.

In terms of competitors, ASE faces them on two main fronts: traditional daytime lifestyle television and other conservative media. Conservative giants like Fox News retain huge portions of ASE’s target audience through twenty-four hour news coverage and expansive talk shows. It remains to be seen whether the market ASE aims to capture will be pulled away from these name brand media sources and towards ASE’s lifestyle programming. 

With few features to distinguish it from other media producers, ASE’s differentiators score is below average.


Given ASE’s recent incorporation at the end of 2020 and its lack of proof-of-concept, there is very little data that can be used to judge its performance. As of the end of 2020 (the day following its incorporation), the company reported $35,500 in assets and a net loss of $5,695. The one point in the company’s favor is its low monthly burn rate of $474. 

Due to ASE’s short operating history and lack of financials, the performance score for the company is very low. 

Bearish Outlook

It’s impossible to predict how American Stories will perform because it’s attempting to carve out a market that hasn’t existed yet. ASE readily admits this, calling it a selling point. For investors, though, this represents uncertainty. While ASE is likely to find some traction as conservatives hunger for content oriented in their direction, it remains unclear how much of an audience the company will find and how profitable advertising and product placement will be.

Nearly the entire American media landscape runs on advertising. If ASE fails to attract advertisers or struggles to gain significant viewership, it will likely fail to compete in a world of independent content creation that is filled with ad-based free content and non-traditional distribution. Other media networks have been down this road before and really struggled to carve out market space for themselves.There is little evidence to indicate that ASE will perform any differently.

Bullish Outlook

There’s definitely a hunger for conservative media that’s been ignored by the coastal centers of power. ASE’s approach appears to leverage advertising and product placement dollars effectively, and its strategy of viewer engagement through “You Make the Stories” content could help viewers develop a sense of ownership and loyalty.

If recent history has demonstrated anything, it’s that modern rural conservatism is a movement. Lifestyle content based on traditional conservative practices and interests could be just what this portion of America needs to feel recognized and understood. Assuming the network gains traction, ASE could present itself as the lifestyle complement to the likes of OANN and Rush Limbaugh. Eventually, it could see significant returns.

Executive Summary

American Stories Entertainment is building a consortium of video media centered around the interests of rural America. ASE plans to tell stories of the small towns ignored by the majority of American media. The company is recently incorporated, and its valuation appears wildly inflated for its position and development stage. While the founders appear to be moderately successful in relevant spaces, none of them — with the notable exception of their strategic partner — have the credentials in business success to inspire investors. This could be considered an underdog effort. At this time the company lacks proof-of-concept, as well as other basic indicators of a return on investment, making it an Underweight Deal.

For questions regarding the KingsCrowd staff pick or ratings for this company, please reach out to

Analysis written by Benjamin Potts.

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