Video is being produced at higher volumes than ever before, with billions of videos created and uploaded to social sites each day, including 72 hours of new content uploaded every minute to YouTube alone (source: YouTube). And the quantity of content isn’t the only thing increasing. The advent of DSLR cameras and affordable editing and production tools is raising the quality standard. Fueling the need for more and more content, the rising demand for online video has reached an all-time high. According to the latest data released by comScore Video Metrix, 188 million U.S. Internet users watched 37.7 billion videos online in August 2012.
Despite the heightened demand for creative video content, traditional (or centralized) licensing sites only represent a fraction of market. While large-scale content owners (studios, sports leagues, producers, etc.) have avenues to sell through traditional stock footage sites, the small to mid-sized producers of the world are left to fend for themselves when it comes to licensing. Existing models filter submissions, set pricing and rights structures, and take the lion’s share of the profits, making it unattractive or even impossible for many content owners.
However, the industry is starting to evolve to keep pace with the expanding content ecosystem. The future of stock footage and licensing entails breaking down the walls of current models and creating a more flexible, connected marketplace similar to eBay, Craigslist or Etsy. New distributed models with social commerce that empower communities to distribute discover, and even request content allows buyers and sellers to meet on their own terms. These tools allow buyers to initiate licensing listing requests for any content they find, while the tool takes care of rights, payment & delivery.
These new eBay-type models are creating a clear path between content creators/owners and seekers. It will be interesting to see the video buyers and sellers that start surfacing as a result of the new low-friction e-commerce models for video. Will CNN start buying its “breaking news” video clips from Joe Schmoe, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time with his iPhone in hand? Or will production companies start leveraging licensing tools to source their content directly from YouTube users? Only time will tell, but it’s exciting to see the industry shift to tie to the socially connected world and support new opportunities for both buyers and sellers of video.