By Enrique Dans, Professor at IE Business School
Facebook has used this year’s f8 developers’ conference to launch Rights Manager, its version of YouTube’s ContentID, a platform that allows content creators to upload video clips that Facebook can monitor to prevent a problem,freebooting, that had became a real complain.
At this year’s Master in Visual and Digital Media at IE Business School I heard from any of number of students who create or manage content complain about their videos being freebooted onto Facebook — this was in the pre-revenue sharing age, Facebook’s model was introduced later— , prompting me to take my students to a quick field trip to the nearby Facebook’s offices in the Spanish capital.
The nub of the problem is that companies unable to manage what takes place on their systems are not sustainable. At the same time, to do so also requires users to flag up abuses or for creators to upload their content voluntarily to a database so it can be compared to other content on the internet, which is what Facebook is now going to do. It has created a platform that allows creators to take measures based on how much of a video was copied, what website it was posted on, or how many people have seen it, and then create alerts about freebooting. Creators can set up whitelists of sites authorized to distribute their videos, and upload unpublished videos they don’t want anyone else using even if they haven’t posted them themselves.
As everybody knows, the problem with video is how people watch it. In most cases, advertising on videos is highly intrusive and annoying. We accept this on television but that jars with the internet’s ideas of freedom, meaning that growing numbers of people are installing ad-blockers.
Pre-roll has bothersome connotations, making companies that use it unpopular, but post-roll has useless visualization, while things like overlays are either intrusive as well, or require the user to do unfamiliar things (click on the t-shirt to buy it) or simply isn’t interested in at the moment. It is widely accepted that YouTube has the most intrusive ad format within the Alphabet range of products, and the rollout of YouTube Red, a pay-to-view version that is advertising free, seem to be enjoying growth and financial results justifying its development. What Facebook can do along these lines, beyond suggesting other content or links at the end of the video, or simply count properly how many replays are automatically generated, is still a mystery.
For Facebook, making the platform attractive for content creators is a paramount issue. Livestreaming has become an obsession for Mark, to the point that he is willing to pay companies and celebrities to create livestreaming videos from anywhere, from the red carpet in an event, to more mundane situations, or tomanipulate its recommendation algorithms to prioritize and make those videos more prominent in the users’ timelines. Facebook is definitely trying to beat YouTube in the video panorama, in a territory that the video giant used to dominate almost exclusively just a few years ago, and the Rights Management Platform was definitely one of the required elements for that. For a number of marketing executives, Facebook is becoming the natural place to unveil native campaigns or to recirculate their TV ones, and many videos that turn viral are starting to circulate on Facebook even before they make it to YouTube. Regarding monetization, though, Google is clearly leading the path with YouTube Red, and the subscription or payment model seems to be difficult for Facebook, which has not even explored these type of alternatives.
We ain’t see nothing yet…