DailyMotion Comes to US, Pays Users

dailymotionlogo1.pngParis based DailyMotion has always been available in the US, but today they’re launching a US based operation headed up by Joy Marcus, former senior vice president of global marketing at Time Warner. Dailymotion is one of the largest social video sites jockying for the distant second position after YouTube, with 4.7 million unique streamers in April (YouTube did 53.5 in March) according to Comscore. According to Comscore, however, DailyMotion users spend 4 times as much time on videos as MetaCafe users. However, MetaCafe’s downloadable player can skew the data.

The move makes sense for the site, since the US is DailyMotion’s second largest market outside of France. To differentiate they are planning on nailing a social video trifecta: offering professional content, contextual advertising, and paying top content producers (companies or individuals) through their MotionMaker program.

There’s no word on the specific premium content offerings, but they are forming a specialized creative and programming team. Danny Passman, formerly of MTV Networks and a development executive at fuse and VH1 will head up this team. They have also brought several other MTV executives on board. Catherine Mullen, former General Manager of MTV UK and Ireland and executive vice president of fuse, will be leading international content acquisition and development initiatives. Head of their German operations, Werner Brell, also previously worked for MTV Networks.

DailyMotion says they plan on monetizing the videos through banner and “innovative forms” of in-video advertising. They also say they will have “contextual in-stream ads”, which makes me suspect they will use interstitial video ads. Implementing an advertising platform into their site is not trivial. Determining a video’s content in order to link ads to it is a complex problem we looked at in our roundup of startups taking on the video advertising problem. There is no word on how DailyMotion will split the revenue with producers, but they may follow MetaCafe’s lead and only dole out cash to the top producers (which pays $100/20,000 views).

Although social video sites like DailyMotion are running a distant second to YouTube, the fight for second place is still important. These sites offer an important opportunity for content publishers to hedge their bets against YouTube and make sure Google doesn’t dominate all of their online distribution.