Four years ago, when Joy Marcus left a good gig at TimeWarner in 2007 to lead the U.S. operations of a relatively unknown web video company--the move looked risky to say the least.
Marcus remembers that first year as a 'battle to kill the pirates.' "I spent probably the first year of my life at Dailymotion making sure that we could be a legitimate business in the United States. We achieved that with a lot of pain", say Marcus today.
There were just one million uniques watching the service when she arrived, and after she removed content she couldn't monetize--that number dropped to almost zero. Marcus had a plan.
As Viacom was suing YouTube, Marcus was able to engineer a deal to get Viacom content on Dailymotion. Audiences continued to grow. Today, Dailymotion has 90 million global uniques, 15 million in the U.S. and is growing the U.S. audience at about 60% a year.
So--is her plan to take on YouTube? Far from it. She says YouTube wins, but just not in her space. "They roll over everybody in search for video, absolutely. They are a great search engine for video and no one can compete with them. Not Bing, not anybody."
So if YouTube wins in search, where does Dailymotion win? Marcus says the future is Curated content.
"We are a very curated environment. We try to lead our users from one video to the next; we provide channels, sub channels, lots and lots of categories of things to enable the discovery process."
Marcus grew up in TV at MTV Networks. And TV was a linear experience, programmed week by week. "You weren't reactive to the market in real-time" says Marcus. "We're in a very different landscape now."
The landscape today is real-time, multi-platform, and most importantly she says, mobile.
"I'm a data junkie; I couldn't survive if I wasn't a data junkie." And the data says mobile. Dailymotion had six million requests from a mobile browsers last month--two million of them from the U..
"I believe people are searching for us in their pockets, and I want to be in their pocket. I believe we will be there more and more. So we're on the iPad, we're on mobile devices. We've done all the right things and there's a huge demand for it. I think it's going to grow."
So while YouTube gets bigger, Marcus says Dailymotion gets more focused, more programmed, and more able to deliver what users want without the noise.
"In the end I think people know what they want, and they don't want to search. YouTube is the place for that. What we want to give our users is up to the minute. We watch trends constantly. So there are mini sub channels that are curated on the fly all day long. They want to come in and look at programming and be guided from one thing to the next and see a channel environment. So we thought long and hard about how can we make the curation process more relevant to our users, more timely."
And how to deliver this curated Dailymotion content? Marcus says she loves mobile.
"I love mobile because everyone has one and most people have one that will stream or eventually stream video. So I love that because it's already there. It's like being the cable company and having wires into everyone's house. I also love the data that's coming out, basically 30% year over year growth, extremely high usage for the people that use it. It is in the early adopter phase right now.
Not only does Marcus love mobile, but after last weeks news it appears mobile loves Dailymotion too. France Telcom's mobile brand Orange Mobile wrote an 80 million dollar check for 49% of the company--pumping new resources into the video site even as the site reports being profitable.
So, with new funding, growing traffic, and clear differentiation in the content curation category--what does the future look like according to Joy Marcus, Dailymotion's GM of US operations?
"We're not a household name here", says Marcus, "although we will be soon."