Videofy.me is a Swedish startup enabling online video content publishers to monetize their content. The company was founded in August 2008 by Robert Mellberg and Oskar Glauser, both having their background in Internet communications and advertising. Neither one of them is a huge video blogger but as working in advertising they kept witnessing the fastly growing gap between the online video content on blogsphere and the lack of ad solutions available for the long tail content publishers. Since the release of the first beta for four months ago they’ve been gaining traction among content publishers.
I stopped by Robert Mellberg, CEO Videofy.me, at their office in central Stockholm to hear how the user-generated online video market is doing and what’s on the drawing board.
According to Robert the service has today 2 400 registered users. Together their video content have generated two million video viewings, just one million alone during the past month. Dispite the slower summer season with few ad campaings running, i.e. less money to be earned, there are between 20-40 new users signing in daily to the service. They’ve also managed to attract a list of big brands within music, film and entertainment business as advertisers. No wonder Robert feels confident about the demand for this type of service, even if the numbers themselves aren’t breathtaking. With this gained traction Videofy.me is therefore currently looking for “fresh dollars”, after been initially funded by the state owned Almi.
50/50 Revenue Sharing
All revenues from the ads sold are shared 50/50 with the content publishers. The more ads are sold and the more viewings your videos get the more you as a content provider earn. In turn to lower the barriers to entry for advertisers the company provides an ad production service.
The registration process is also straight forward, to my liking, letting the user categorize the blog content and the demography of the target audience. All the blogs/sites need to be approved before joining the service. When approved one can either upload or record a video directly in the browser. Both video, mobile and digital camera formats are supported. After recording/uploading is done, the user gets an embed code on a blog/site including targeted ads suitable for the blog content and audience. The user gets accss to her own admin interface with statistics over the number of videos and ads shown, as well as the money made.
In couple of weeks they are to launch an improved user interface, a new site and functionality, e.g. Swedish version of the site and a video blogging school together with a well known media person. Robert also confirmed more mobile features to be on the way.
The service is built in flash, uses progressive download and cloud hosted distribution. For the moment only blogs and sites targeted Swedish audience are approved even if the system is prepared for, and the company’s long term plan is to reach and serve international audience.
Is It Possible To Monetize User-generated Online Video Content?
According to last year’s statistics user-generated online video accounts for around 42% of all video streams online but only 4% of the revenues. With YouTube seem to be concentrating more and more on monetizing professional content, MySpace trying to find it’s way back to it’s glory days and Vimeo trying out the freemium model, one would probably want to answer No.
I think Videofy.me might have a chance for three reasons:
1. Service, not a community
Videofy.me lets the content publishers to monetize on their own playground, i.e. the blogs and websites. Sure, one still has to upload the content to the service to get access to the ads, but the monetization is done elsewhere. It’s not a community or portal, such as YouTube, MySpace or Snowfish (a new Swedish community) that in itself needs the visitor traffic, and in worst case wants to own your content in terms of trying to monetize it. I think this as a very healthy approach by Videofy.me, since I’ve seen way too many services wanting to “own” the user content, especially within media. The content is an object to be shared without any platform restrictions, and ideally monetized across different platforms.
2. Enable users
With new markets and platforms one has to be aware of the need to educate both parties, the market and the customers. Videofy.me is working hard trying to make the service as simple as possible for the content publishers, as well as helping out advertisers with ad production for time being.
3. Blogging and sharing is not going away, it’s yet only evolving. There will be ways to monetize that.