Adam Mosam is optimistic. The founder of Pivotshare, a new social content creation platform that allows multi-media producers to make bank on their videos, thinks the time is now to start a small revolution.
“We created a way to let publishers have their own branded online channel where they could select their own revenue model, manage their content, have access to detailed analytics, and make their content available across all leading devices,” Mosam tells Fast Company. “This is just the beginning.”
He’s not the only one who thinks so, either. Magnify.net’s Steven Rosenbaum looked into his crystal ball last week and predicted (among other things) that the free video party is about to end. This presents a great business opportunity for companies and individuals to monetize their expertise through curated channels, he writes. Even juggernaut YouTube is cluing in to quality productions. Saying sayonara to a mixed-up jumble of cat clips and comedic rants with its new streamlined redesign, YouTube asserted its recent commitment to source more professionally made content as well as flow more of its existing content into thematically linked channels.
Getting Beyond User-Generated Content
Installments from viral hitmakers such as Kingsley and Jenna Marbles may be fun for an unproductive afternoon at work, but videos that actually teach you something have huge potential. And there are vast untapped caches of content according to Mosam, such as the media libraries of organizations or conferences. “They all have anywhere from three to 10 years’ worth of material that they can monetize out of the dust,” he explains. And while some videos’ relevance may wane in the wake of new industry developments, Mosam notes that some, like TED Talks, are timeless.
Additionally he points out that certain professionals such as doctors or lawyers need to fulfill annual continuing education requirements, so there is another potential market for taped lectures and seminars. Then there’s the enormous number of enthusiasts doling out detailed how-to videos for free on niche forums (step-by-step Jaguar restoration anyone?). One thing does bring all Pivotshare’s target producers together, Mosam says. “They are all experts in their genre but not in technology.”
All Together Now
The way Mosam sees it, one of the problems with creating and distributing quality content is time. Video production has gotten less expensive, he says, but unlike expert bloggers who can knock out several posts a day, shooting and editing video is a more time-consuming process. Pivotshare solves this with its “social content creation paradigm.”
“I noticed that different people were working on similar subject matter and figured it would be great if they could somehow link up and create a destination together. When you start a Pivotshare channel, you can invite someone to join you and contribute media. Alternatively, if you see a channel you like, you can apply to contribute and work together.”
By combining efforts, collaborative producers will be able to deliver a more complete online presence that can compete with established traditional media companies.
Additionally, Pivotshare built in a nifty feature that allows viewers to bookmark segments of longer videos to avoid having to search through many minutes of content in order to find a relevant short segment. Mosam says this interior curation allows viewers to take a plain old media stash and turn it into a user-friendly reference library.
Unlike Demand Media’s eHow with editorial content based on what’s likely to get the best search results, Mosam says Pivotshare wants to appeal to the inner entrepreneur in every producer. It won’t tell anyone what to upload and won’t be policing collaborators (the first person to start a channel is the admin and responsible for making sure all play nice).
“Instead of leveraging people, we want to empower them,” says Mosam, “We are enabling a new paradigm of lean publishing to an industry that is desperately in need of reinvention.”
Cashing In On Content Creation
With the freemium model being called increasingly into question and advertising dollars being spread ever thinner, Pivotshare’s business model relies on selling subscriptions. Producers get a cut of monthly subscription prices based on their videos’ ratings, an algorithm-generated fee based on views and shares. Pivotshare also takes a cut of the subscription revenue.
“Our hope is the fee that we take is going to save people money. We are hoping to leverage economies of scale to drive costs down, because if you tried to do it on your own [with hosting and infrastructure] it would cost you more,” says Mosam.
Advertising architecture was built in at the beginning, Mosam admits, though Pivotshare won’t be using it for the forseeable future. “We want to have our own niche,” he asserts.
Mosam says Pivotshare is closing in on funding from angel investors, which will enable the company to market more heavily to its targets. After that, he’s looking to reach critical mass to enter the next phase. “We’ll open up what we’re calling the Pivotshare Directory that will showcase content available across different categories and verticals. We’ll be able to drive sales to our publishers from the web or devices and will resemble an app store but for content.”