Monetizing video content is incredibly hard. On YouTube for instance, you can expect to make between $0.25 to $4 on every 1000 views and YouTube’s cut will also eat into your earnings. Earlier this year in April, news broke about a shooter on YouTube’s California HQ and additional details about the incident revealed that the shooter, Nasim Aghdam was disgruntled because of changes in YouTube’s monetization policies. Of course, demonetization of her content doesn’t justify her actions, but it points to the fact that content creators are under immense pressure to sustain advertising revenue and reputation. This piece provides insights into recent developments around monetizing video content.
The challenge with monetizing videos
For content creators, there are many challenges with monetizing videos; for advertisers, there are more challenges in measuring the ROI on ad spend for video content. When trying to monetize the content with ads, there’s no consensus on whether the ads should come pre-roll, mid-roll, and at the end of the video.
Sponsored videos don’t seem to work either because viewers have learnt to just ignore then and skip to the next one. Having the content creator promote a product or service also feels outright cheesy and could backfire on the advertiser.
Beyond the problems, there’s the additional layer of complexity provided by video content distribution platforms such as YouTube and Instagram. For one, no one outside these platforms really know how the algorithms that determine how videos are displayed in search results. In addition, there’s a great deal of opacity in how the number of views, duration of views, and engagement with such content is measured.
YouTube changes monetization policies
In January, YouTube revealed that it was tightening rules around its partner program and that content creators and channels must meet some requirements before their content could be eligible for monetization. Now, content creators that will be eligible for monetization must have 4,000 hours of overall watch time in the last 12 months and they must have at least 1000 subscribers. The video streaming platform said the decision to change the requirements came after “thorough analysis and conversations”.
While the new changes were designed to prevent people from earning money by creating disturbing, offensive, or inappropriate vides; many new/small creators have automatically been locked out of the monetization ecosystem by the blanket rules. In fact, YouTube notes that “9% of those affected were making less than $100 per year in the last year, with 90% earning less than $2.50 in the last month.” In essence, new content creators or creators focused on niche markets won’t be able to monetize their content until they’ve built up enough following to reach the arbitrary number thresholds.
Netflix is exploring commercials
In 2017, Exstreamist published a report suggesting that Netflix was potentially losing as much as $2.29B in revenue every year by sticking to a subscription model instead of exploring an ad revenue model. Netflix has changed the story of video, grown into a formidable tech firm, and consume almost half of Internet traffic globally without showing a single ad. However, Netflix is a publicly traded company and the idea of an additional $2 billion in annual revenue will surely be appealing to its shareholders.
In August, Netflix started experimenting with the idea of ads using what it calls “recommendations” as opposed to outright ads or commercials. In a statement, the firm noted that “we are testing whether surfacing recommendations between episodes helps members discover stories they will enjoy faster… It is important to note that a member is able to skip a video preview at any time if they are not interested.” In 2016, Netflix introduced video previews and it has been playing around with different kind of non-movie content since then.
AQER is introducing a Blockchain-powered solution
AQER – Artificial Intelligence Quotation for Entertainment Rights – is working on an innovative solution that offers a fair win-win relationship between advertisers and content creators. The solution is designed to serve as a marketplace for content creators such as vloggers, musicians, and other publishers to transact with advertisers in a transparent and fair environment guarded by smart contracts.
The platform also uses blockchain-powered smart contracts to define the terms deals and execute the contracts when the vloggers create the content and the KPIs denoting success are measured. The AQER token serves as a means of settling payments between publishers and content creators and the content creators can also use to the token to pay other service providers such as script writers and video editors on the platform. Content creators can also use the AQER token to pay for hardware and software that they use in their trade.
Vlogging has become the modern version of word-of-mouth marketing, but there’s still the need to collect and aggregate data across social media platforms for the ad’s dollar spend of advertisers to make sense in terms of ROI. The disruptive transparency that blockchain technology brings suggests that the vlogging industry is set to see some remarkable changes. It is expected to make it easier for vloggers to show proof of influence and leverage that proof to monetize their content more effectively, and for advertisers to understand which influencers they are up against.