The Internet has become a cradle for rising stars and continues to foster a growing community of entertainers, artists and anyone who wishes to share an idea. The term YouTube star was coined when do-it-yourself artists began to make a name for themselves by self-publishing videos, from online comedian Jenna Marbles to future megapopstar Justin Bieber.
But what some may not realize is that while YouTube was booming in the United States around 2005, a video publishing counterpart was flourishing in France: Dailymotion.
As long as we're able to provide a better user experience, they'll come to Dailymotion, says Roland Hamilton, managing director US for Dailymotion. It's about delivering the best of what you can do with what you've got.
Since its launch in 2005, Dailymotion has become one of the leading sites for sharing videos, second only to YouTube. The video search engine attracts more than 135 million unique monthly visitors streaming 1.8 billion videos worldwide. (YouTube claims about 160 million in an average month.) While gaining traction with users, the company has been striking deals with some of the most prominent social media and search engine companies in the industry.
New partnerships and ventures
Amid an ever-changing and expanding online sphere, Dailymotion has bolstered its platform to fit the various ways people consume media. Its latest venture involves entering the cloud.
The company has just announced the newest version of its cloud streaming service, which allows its user base of publishers, advertisers and broadcasters to stream content online instantly. This includes digital rights management support for Adobe Flash Access and Microsoft Playready, which adds extra security measures to video content from publishers. With the newly announced cloud platform, users will be able to control a variety of features that affect the viewing experience, from button selection to the size of the progress bar.
This is just one of the numerous steps to come from Dailymotion this summer. At the end of June, the website also signed a partnership with Twitter to enable expanded views of its video content in tweets.
People want to watch the video right in the environment that they're in, Hamilton said. The next evolution for Twitter will be more than just reading 140-character tweets, and I think it's going to benefit the way people use [the service].
Dailymotion's Facebook app began to pick up momentum in early 2012, with the company garnering more than 3 million new users at the end of February. Dailymotion's Facebook presence beat out app store chart-toppers such as Angry Birds and Hidden Chronicles.
Now the video sharing service is branching out of simply sharing and streaming video, Dailymotion has begun to explore the digital fundraising field with the likes of Kickstarter. A new partnership with Flattr, a service which allows users to donate money to content creators with the simple click of a button, has fostered the arts-friendly attitude that Dailymotion endorses.
Up and coming artists have niche communities, and Flattr is one additional source of income [for them], said Hamilton when comparing Flattr with Kickstarter. Unlike the popular crowdsourced fundraising website, Flattr is about providing support for artists to fund whichever project will come next, rather than rallying finances for one specific cause.
A focus on the arts: What are MotionMakers?
Dailymotion's new partnership with Flattr is just one way the company is expanding the MotionMakers portion of its website. MotionMakers is a specific section focusing on endorsing videos from independent artists. This includes filmmakers, visual artists, animators, musicians, game editors, web series creators and more.
We are also really interested in bringing attention to the amazing creative content that our community continually churns out, the Dailymotion official blog states.
Hamilton added that the MotionMakers area, which is featured on the Dailymotion homepage, gives creatives another opportunity to broadcast their talent. The viral approach to distributing content has also in a sense reinvented the way fame is achieved, the Dailymotion managing director said.
It's a great place for people to get an additional audience, he said. It's amazing to see folks like Chocolate Rain become so successful, and it's amazing how tools have become so democratized. Music is the biggest category [on Dailymotion], so it will be interesting to see what happens.
One third of the website's total traffic comes from its home page, and Dailymotion has been evangelizing internally for long time to generate funding for its MotionMakers program. One way in which the company showcases its artistic side is through film festival partnerships. In January, the video sharing site collaborated with My French Film Festival, an international festival of online French cinema. Dailymotion also co-hosted the Original iPhone Film Festival which took place that same month, where finalists face off to win a MacBook Air using their media skills.
It's [a way of] showcasing MotionMaker talent, Hamilton said. It's about focusing on what deserves to have an audience.
The Dailymotion brand
In the technology industry, innovation is one of, if not the most important factor that can make or break a company's brand. Flourishing in such a competitive industry is no easy task, especially when your main competitor is the second-most popular search engine on the Internet, YouTube. But for Dailymotion, the key to success is taking a first-person approach to its viewers.
Hamilton said Dailymotion implemented an exercise in which company employees create and upload videos to the site to get the full experience. Referred to as taste-makers, members of the Dailymotion team curate video selections for each category on the site, ranging from Celeb and Funny categories to Viral Picks.
Human curation is always part of the discovery experience; it takes the right mix of curation and social integration, Hamilton said. The stadium is already full of people, but you have to put the right band on stage.
Future and goals
Although video streaming is largely a culture of laptop users and tablet surfers, Hamilton says video game consoles could potentially play a huge role in Dailymotion's audience.
Apart from desktop users, which account for 80 percent of the video service's traffic, mobile and video game systems account for Dailymotion's user base. Hamilton says there is a future in long-form streaming on Microsoft's Xbox 360, especially in the forthcoming next generation of consoles which are likely to incorporate 4G network connection.
But just as important as the platform on which Dailymotion broadcasts its product is the business model that supports it. According to Hamilton, the business model makes the brand.
There are so many examples of companies that were smaller and had a smarter idea for a business model, he said, citing the wildly popular camera app that was recently purchased by Facebook. Look at Instagram and the specialness they created with such a small staff.
The key is to build the business model around the product rather than vice versa, Hamilton says.
Think about the user's point of view first, he said.
Dailymotion hopes to edge it way into the top 10 most visited websites in the United States in the near future. Besides traffic numbers, unique visitors and revenue, Hamilton says the key to success is living and breathing the brand inside and out, from both a business and consumer standpoint.
It takes every single person in the company being a user, he said.
Check out the video below to get a demo of Dailymotion's new cloud streaming features.