June 22, 2017:Music (UMG included) is a key pillar in Dailymotion relaunch

Like Vimeo, video-streaming site Dailymotion is doomed to be pigeonholed as ‘YouTube but much smaller’ in many people’s minds – even though with 300 million monthly viewers, it’s still pretty big.

The service is hoping to make more waves in July with a major relaunch of its app and website, which was unveiled yesterday at the Cannes Lions conference. Music is key to its plans.

“The new App is designed to be the go-to place where users will get their daily dose of must-see videos across four popular topics: news, sports, music and entertainment,” explained chairman and CEO Maxime Saada. “Brands will also benefit thanks to a new advertising approach that favours innovative formats that don’t stand in the way of customer experience.”

Saada also announced three media partnerships for the relaunch: Universal Music Group, CNN and Vice. UMG’s involvement should come as no surprise: its parent company Vivendi is also Dailymotion’s majority owner, having bought an 80% stake from Orange in 2015.

That said, Saada told The Hollywood Reporter that this was no mates-rates deal. “As it should be. They have one of the most prized assets in the world, and they’re very careful with their IP and their artists.”

Universal, like other labels, is undoubtedly interested in Dailymotion’s potential as an alternative to YouTube. Pragmatically, this is less about removing content from the latter to put it on the former, and more about Dailymotion’s desire to focus on a slightly-older 25-49 demographic as YouTube “skews younger and younger” according to Saada, who said that older viewers “are appealing to advertisers because they have money to spend and are very attractive to brands”.

For all the continued arguments about the ‘value gap’ and safe harbour in relation to YouTube, the prospects of a major label pulling their music from the latter appear to have receded, after industry rumours that Sony Music was considering such a move in late 2016.

While labels will welcome a competitor with an emphasis on ‘premium’ (i.e. official, not user-uploaded) music videos, Dailymotion’s prospects of getting meaningful exclusives must be weighed not just against YouTube’s ubiquity, but also against the existence of Vevo.

Still, the more competition (don’t forget Facebook) the merrier in this area.

Stuart Dredge
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