It almost sounds like the MCNs are banding together into a sort of union in order to start combined negotiations with Google/YouTube for better arrangements. Given the fact that some of the MCNs have been totally torched by some former clients, including some major YouTube names, for not actually adding any value, and the move of YouTube recently toward trying to vie for more TV ad dollars it almost feels like a pot that’s simmering is ready to explode in terms of ad revenue fights and content payments.
Then again, I could just be an alarmist. Clearly, without YouTube, the MCNs wouldn’t really exist. After all, it’s the world’s largest video search engine and without it, most of the videos the MCNs publish probably wouldn’t get much traction. On the other hand, without the MCNs, YouTube might still be the realm of silly cat videos and terribly produced video blogs.
GOVA is said to “hasten their continued growth and profitability by collaborating on emerging opportunities, jointly investing in initiatives and by setting industry standards,” so there’s clearly more to it than just ad revenue streams. I like the idea of the major publishers getting together to set industry standards, however, there also needs to be some balance in that from other sources to ensure that the Internet stays open and available to all equally.
“Online video is a fundamentally different media for advertisers with strong online communities in which the creators themselves exert huge influence upon paid and earned media,” said Ezra Cooperstein, COO of FullScreen. “GOVA will provide a bridge for creating value for advertisers by helping to inform, educate, and reinforce the best practices for working with the new breed of video companies and brands.”
That quote makes me think of the myriad possibilities of branded content that could come from this sort of organization. By banding together they make their presence larger, they take a bit of fierce competition out of the industry and turn that energy toward presenting a united front for marketers, ad agencies and brands to look to for guidance and information.
The GOVA Mission Statement
GOVA’s long-term vision is to support companies with significant investments in producing and monetizing original digital content, including owning and operating a YouTube content network. During its first year, GOVA’s mission will include increasing the awareness of the digital originals category amongst brands, advertising agencies and consumers, optimizing content marketplaces such as the IAB NewFronts and the MipTV Digital Fronts, exploring common industry nomenclature and measurement standards, and increasing dialogue with all partners in the digital originals ecosystem, including YouTube, Amazon and Microsoft.
Note how “YouTube content network” is right there in the mission statement and the mention of NewFronts and Digital Fronts which places it in line with TV’s UpFronts. It feels like the MCNs are working to position themselves like digital broadcasters, the new generation of television networks so that they can collectively bargain, set industry rates and compete with the “good old boys” of TV. Bully for them! Hopefully, we can get some time with the members of GOVA in the near future and gain some insight into their plans and ideas for the future of online video.