According to Cisco’s global report on video streaming, 76% of mobile traffic will be video by 2019 and Smart Insight says that more video is uploaded in 30 days than all the video created by major US broadcast networks in the past 30 years. “Can telcos monetize it?” asks Janne Neuvonen, CEO of media platform company BCaster
While user-generated content (UGC) video is an emerging, lucrative asset, mobile networks have yet to develop strategies that do more than just sell larger data packages.
Today, only 1% of all UGC video is being monetized, and mostly by the largest global social networks such as Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. In fact, 99% of UGC video produced globally is there to be monetized by publishers and operators alike.
So, will telcos, publishers and brands continue to allow social networks to grab the entire UGC video market? And how can they get a grip on this market and develop much-needed new revenue streams?
Why is UGC Monetization so difficult?
The ability to monetize UGC video requires proper content rights ownership, which is hard to acquire on a global scale due to complex ownership and distribution rights, often involving multiple ownership entities.
Most UGC video content is of poor quality or holds limited general interest for wider audiences. Filtering out interesting content with sufficient quality is impossible without opening each file separately.
Distribution, discovery and availability to consumers in an easy and meaningful way is complex with curation across disparate networks almost non-existent. Individuals producing content often ignore tagging videos, or tag them using wrongly spelled hashtags, or forget to upload their content to more than one service. And, of course, some content is not even uploaded at all.
Nearly 99% of UGC is distributed by social networks, but the creators themselves are often not realizing any monetary gain. Most UGC content is not produced by YouTube “creators” who have advertising revenue share deals with a network. Social networks own the UGC video content and the metadata attached to each clip. For example, when brands run hashtag campaigns on Instagram, the only real winner is Instagram.
Can telcos win in the UGC video market?
If telcos and other players such as media houses, venue and event operators as well as consumer brands wish to win UGC video revenue from the global social networks and start monetizing it, they must harness Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics and build an Uber-like platform to establish a new business model for sourcing, managing, distributing and monetizing the content.
Find Good Content
Content quality is crucial in UGC as is content relevance. Brands, for example, can source content from producers for campaigns more easily with the proper AI and metadata, and content sources can be properly compensated. These behaviors are more likely today because crowds are more likely to be the source of timely, relevant content. News organizations, publishers and brands can leverage a broader community of geo-specific visual content more easily across multiple networks.
Content ownership is the ultimate foundation for UGC monetization, and both the content and the metadata is key. Owning UGC removes any potential legal risks associated with re-publishing or using your UGC in future campaigns, and your brand has the opportunity to collect rich metadata behind each piece of UGC. The appropriate platform, or suite of technologies, can enable smarter controls and monetization levels for content owners, as well as revenue sharing.
Make Use of Metadata
Metadata contained in every photo and video has unique, dynamic information that can’t be gleaned anywhere else. Capturing the metadata behind every piece of UGC helps your brand drive a deeper level of understanding of your customers: who they are, their buying patterns, geolocation, phone type, contact information, and much more. With this metadata, telcos are able to immediately realize the benefits of subscriber content, and act as a trusted clearinghouse for third party content deals.
Make UGC Easy to Discover
UGC video clips must be easy to discover, available in logical context, forums, hashtags, and have an easy mechanism for repurposing.
BCaster AI understands the actual meaning from photos and videos. The video content search is done using simple keywords such as “car” and location “Los Angeles,” for example. The user interface is a seamless narrative of content happening in locations and at specific times, and can be tuned to specific search terms. This is how UGC content will deliver greater value for creators and publishers alike.
Create an Uber-like Ecosystem for Video
The ride-sharing industry enables millions of people to use their own automobiles for part-time income. The “Uberization” of the taxi industry has led to discussions regarding just-in-time services that leverage geolocation. Bcaster is built to deliver a similar experience for video creators: offering the ability to monetize content that is uploaded and sourced by third parties. This enables a much richer set of content experiences that increase the value and revenue stream for video creators and distributors alike.
The key to telcos success in UGC monetization is for them to think of themselves as a media source, not a distribution channel. Telcos will not succeed alone, but can leverage existing subscribers, for example, to take back revenue that has moved to the major social networks. This requires an Uber-like ecosystem where everyone gets his or her fair share. What operators used to refer to as “content decks” could now be expanded vastly through real-time video curation that would deliver a global source for a wide range of partners.
Janne Neuvonen is the founder and CEO of UGC media platform company BCaster. Neuvonen is a serial entrepreneur who prior to founding Bcaster was involved in event organizing and television computer and mobile network technologies. Neuvonen’s education background is from mobile networks, computer sciences and electronics