Is it Really Possible to Trust Youtube to Help Content Creators?
The 9th Annual Vidcon was hosted this year at the Anaheim Convention Center. Thousands of content creators and industry representatives congregated for this annual convention. Only 1400 people attended the first Vidcon in 2010. This grew to over 30,000+ attendees in recent years. It’s fair to deduce that online video content is a rapidly growing field. Creators of online video content are rapidly disrupting traditional media like television. Additionally, the economic value of online videos has grown to tens of billions of dollar annually. However, it’s important to ask ourselves about who has the “most to gain” in this booming new industry.
Current platforms act as middlemen who take out large percentages of content creators’ income. Additionally, YouTube has a heavy hand in censoring content creators with threats of “demonetization” of their channels. As entities that optimize for ad revenue it’s very hard for platforms like YouTube to align their interest with the content creators who make these platforms valuable. Ads are also not ideal for the overall experience of viewers. Many would argue that they’re a distraction that detracts from the overall experience of the content. Overall, it’s easy to state that the needs of content creators are under-represented on these platforms. The platforms still seem to be main benefactors in this new industry.
Recently, YouTube has offered content creators newer means of monetizing their content through subscriptions and the ability to sell merchandise through the platform. YouTube’s Chief Product Officer recently stated, “As in previous years, The vast majority of the revenue is coming from our advertising partners. We’ll continue investing here, but we also want to think beyond ads. Creators should have as many ways and opportunities to make money as possible.” However this offering feels slightly disingenuous. It seems to be a retrofitted solution to counter the fact that YouTube is still taking an undue amount of revenue from creators on the platform. It’s important to question if YouTube truly represents the best interests of its community of creators and viewers. As a platform YouTube has nearly 80% market share the closest competitor has 8%. It’s fair to say they have a near-monopoly on the video streaming industry. Content creators simply don’t have other options if they want to gain traction for their content. In a lot of ways they’re forced to accept what YouTube offers.
We ask ourselves the question, “What alternatives are out there?” With the advent of blockchain technology it’s possible to create a more equitable platform for hosting online videos and streaming content. That is the specific problem that Lino is trying to solve through creating a decentralized content economy. The problem with existing platforms is that they’re centralized entities who make decisions for their entire communities. As stated before, the issue with this is that sometimes their interests don’t align with the content contributors on their platforms. By creating an autonomous self-sustaining economy, Lino is making video content production more democratic and community driven. There are no transaction fees on the Lino network. Users are free to transact and contribute to content creators through purchases, gifting, and micro-tipping. All transactions happen through the the Lino network in the form of their native currency. This also eliminates the need for payment processors, contributing further to the goal of “no middlemen”. Additionally stakeholders on Lino’s network are self governing through an intricate system of voting. Governance and features are democratically elected by stakeholders within the network.
A key takeaway from Vidcon is that the market for online videos and streaming content will continue to expand. The industry is largely dominated by centralized incumbents like YouTube. However the protocols of how content creators are compensated for their hard work have not been drastically improved since the first Vidcon in 2010! One may argue that they’ve actually gotten worse. Payouts per 1000 views has decreased drastically since prior years. Content creators on YouTube are offered 55% of ad revenue. This can be reduced to 38% if they’re part of a MCN or Multi Channel Network. Additionally, the requirements for receiving any revenue continues to get higher. Now users must have 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watchtime in the last 365 days to be considered for revenue share in YouTube’s partnership program. Lino hopes to offer a viable alternative to monopolies like YouTube with fairer governance and no intermediary fees between creators and watchers. This is made possible through blockchain technology and many innovative solutions in the fields of storage and CDNs. Additionally, Lino is pioneering new solutions to fairly distribute value to contributors on the platform without the necessity of centralized intermediaries.
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