VidCon US 2018 – Top Takeaways From the World of Online Video

Last week marked my annual pilgrimage to the land of screaming tweens and selfie sticks: VidCon. This year 30,000+ creators, fans, and industry representatives descended on the Anaheim Convention Center to celebrate the world of online video. But just as the video ecosystem evolves with each passing year, this year’s 9th annual VidCon brought its fair share of changes too. Here are my top takeaways:


1. Platform Competition is Heating Up

Social media platforms are vying for IRL attention just as much as they compete for digital audiences’ clicks, views, and watchtime. YouTube, a longtime VidCon sponsor, delivered a keynote about building online communities and hosted one of the conference’s most popular parties. Amazon sponsored the industry lounge while Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitch hosted lavish creator lounges. Pinterest and Instagram offered seminars to help creators succeed on their platforms, and teamed up with UTA to host a Friday night happy hour for influencers and industry track attendees. Even LinkedIn put together a panel highlighting its emerging influencer community.


2. VidCon is now a Tentpole for Major Product Announcements

Not only did the social platforms have a major presence for the first time this year, but they’ve started leveraging the conference as an anchor for big product announcements. Just days before VidCon, Facebook announced its Brands Collab Manager to connect brands and influencers for sponsorship opportunities, and Instagram launched IGTV as a long-form video app for creators. Not to be outdone, YouTube took advantage of the event to introduce Premieres and other new revenue streams for creators, including channel memberships and merchandise.


3. Re-Investing in Upcoming Creators is Essential

During his annual keynote, VidCon founder Hank Green announced a new program to provide $2,000 grants to a different aspiring influencer each week for the next year. This VidCon Creator Grant Program will help emerging creators invest in better equipment and higher quality content.


4. Panel Diversity is on the Rise

There was noticeably more variety in session programming for all conference tracks this year, showcasing different voices and offering fresh perspectives. The speaker lineup included more representation from traditional Hollywood, large brand advertisers, and sports leagues. Session content ranged widely too, from key content verticals like children’s entertainment and esports to practical tips for creators and marketers like identifying fake followers and diversifying monetization streams. I was fortunate to moderate a particularly fascinating discussion about the psychology of digital media on adolescents with Dr. Jessica Taylor Piotrowski from the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents, where we dug into how youth are affected by media consumption.


5. TanaCon Succeeded (Kinda)

Sure, Tana Mongeau’s attempt to organize a competing fan event was ultimately canceled due to concerns over creator security. But the moral of TanaCon is the massive community response. It’s clear that some creators don’t feel as welcome at VidCon and that fans are eager for more personal ways to connect with their favorite influencers. The outcome here (overwhelming demand and overcrowding) proves the success of the model, so expect to see more satellite events offering a more direct-to-fan experience eat into the VidCon audience in the future, especially for more controversial influencers and niche communities.

All told, this year’s VidCon was bigger and more successful than ever, demonstrating the continued growth and potential of the online video industry. Social platforms are offering more tools to help influencers create and monetize content, fans are eager for more ways to interact with the creators they love, and traditional media companies are finally figuring out how to program for online audiences. Now, it’s up to marketers to understand how to best leverage these trends to build passion brands in the new age of the influencer.

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Content ID Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story: Four Reasons Why Digital Fingerprinting Misses Pirated Content

TL;DR version

  • Content ID’s digital fingerprint system for automated match claims misses 40% – 60% of potential claims, leaving critical audience data and revenue on the table.
  • Digital fingerprinting technology is improving, but Content ID and similar systems have inherent limitations due to hyper short-form content, short match lengths, compilations, fan-created content, and savvy copyright violators.
  • Manual claiming (keyword searches and claims performed by a human operator) serves as a complement to automated matches.
  • Manual claiming not only presents an incremental revenue opportunity; in most cases it actually drives higher monthly earnings than automated match claims.

It’s no secret there is a substantial amount of pirated content on YouTube. In fact, over the past nine years, YouTube has paid over $2 billion to content owners for copyright claims made using its Content ID system.

Content ID, which launched in 2007, uses digital fingerprinting technology to help creators and media companies protect their intellectual property on YouTube. Rights holders deliver reference files (copies of an asset’s video or audio content), and YouTube creates a fingerprint that Content ID compares with videos uploaded by other YouTube users. When the system detects a match, a claim is issued, applying a policy selected by the rightful content owner: block (prevent video playback), track (monitor video statistics), or monetize (receive video ad revenue).

Content ID is a fantastic tool and YouTube has hundreds of talented engineers working each day to make it better, but there’s a catch. In our experience at Paladin, Content ID only detects 40% – 60% of potential video claims, leaving critical audience data and revenue on the table. It’s not Content ID or YouTube’s fault; digital fingerprinting systems have inherent limitations due to the following:


Super Short-Form Content

Content ID doesn’t detect matches under 30 seconds to avoid generating false positives. YouTube had to draw a line in the sand somewhere; otherwise, Content ID would return a series of poor and inapplicable matches (think black screens, stock photos, and gameplay footage).


Clips & Compilations

If a user creates a video using short clips, Content ID may not have enough material to compare against its reference library to determine a match (i.e. “best of Vine” and fail video compilations).


Fan-Created Content

Some user-generated content (UGC) may infringe on a content owners’ IP but not have a reference file against which to match (i.e. fan animations based on trademarked characters).


Savvy Copyright Violators

Blatant copyright violators will speed up or slow down footage, alter color composition, drop video frames, zoom in, rotate the picture, add borders, and employ other tactics to avoid detection by Content ID. This cat-and-mouse game is inevitable; as the digital fingerprinting technology improves, pirates will find other ways to thwart the system.  One recent, and particularly creative, example involved an entire film embedded in a 360-degree video.

Enter Manual Claiming

To help identify pirated material missed by Content ID’s automated match system, YouTube offers a manual claiming feature to YouTube Certified partners, such as media companies, digital publishers, and multi-channel networks (MCNs). Manual claiming relies on descriptive search, allowing human operators to query video metadata (titles, tags, and descriptions) to locate potential claims. This means that rights holders need staff to repeatedly search for missed content, review results, and issue claims.

Manual claiming serves as a powerful complement to Content ID’s automated matching and offers tremendous benefits to rights owners. They can:

  • Get a complete picture of their content’s consumption on YouTube, including audience and performance insights.
  • Place claims much faster than Content ID’s fingerprint system can scan a decade of reference files and user uploads, which is particularly helpful for live broadcasts, major events, and viral videos when it’s important to quickly trigger monetization.
  • Maximize earnings throughout the content’s life cycle, including advertising and YouTube Red revenue.

The potential benefits are immense, but it’s called manual claiming for a reason. The descriptive search process can be extremely tedious and time consuming, especially for large content owners.

At Paladin, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about these challenges and developing productivity and workflow solutions to streamline the manual claiming process. Our Rights Monitor product automates descriptive search queries, provides intelligent results, and reduces several claiming steps to a single click. Using our technology, we’ve helped rights holders like FUNimation more than double their monthly YouTube earnings and recapture millions of dollars in lost revenue.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a large content owner or media company, we recommend an effective manual claiming strategy to provide full coverage of your content library. In addition to managing Content ID and handling dispute resolution, your copyright protection team should leverage manual claiming to monetize and collect data from third-party uploads. Ideally, you will also benefit from the audience insights that can guide future content creation, programming, and licensing opportunities.

If you’re interested in learning more about Paladin’s Rights Monitor solution and how it improves the manual claiming process, contact us.

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