With its competition to help indie filmmakers produce content, video sharing site Dailymotion says it's aiming for better quality content and more viewers. Traditional producers are worried.
Dailymotion - the world's second largest video sharing site - is opening a 600 square meter production studio in Paris. The facility will be used to help independent film makers produce high-quality content with the help of Dailymotion's gear and production technicians, says Marc Eychenne, the company's head of international content.
"Opening a production studio will help [content makers] produce more original and exclusive content for the Web and for Dailymotion specifically," Eychenne explains.
Eychenne believes Dailymotion will attract more viewers by having high quality content.
"We definitely think that it's more interesting for us to create this production studio and build new relationships with those production companies or young directors directly," he says.
By attracting high-quality content and increasing its audience, Dailymotion hopes to compete with the world's leading video-sharing site, Google-owned YouTube. As of last year, it had an estimated 800 million unique visitors per month compared to Dailymotion's 116 million.
The US remake of House of Cards was produced in association with Netflix - an online video streaming site
Online content providers go into production
But what Dailymotion is doing isn't that different from its main competitor.
"It's in line with what YouTube has been trying to do," says Tim Westcott, IHS Screen Digest's principle TV analyst.
Professionally produced content gets more views, and that leads to more advertising revenue, says Westcott. He says the growing number of broadband Internet users in recent years has led to greater consumption of video content on the Web.
"So the quality of what's online is improving," he says.
And it's not just online video sharing sites like YouTube and Dailymotion that are keen to tap into this growing market.
For one, Westcott suspects Dailymotion could get support for its new venture from mobile operator Orange-France Telecom, which owns a 49 percent stake in the company. Other content providers and distributors on the Net are increasingly going into production, too.
In February, on-demand video rental site Netflix premiered House of Cards - its first original series - online. It bypassed the traditional television networks which still dominate distribution - although some will later broadcast the series, including in Germany.
And in March, Ecommerce retailer Amazon put 14 pilot shows to a public vote, allowing viewers to submit feedback that could influence how the shows are made.
'Don't give away too much'
But Dailymotion's strategy has one major difference.
It does not plan to work with big name directors, says Eychenne. And it doesn't plan to share the content that is produced.
"We are definitely not a production company, and [the content makers] have to produce the content by themselves," he says. "But [...] we definitely think that offering them a space like this, plus all the production tools, will help them produce more content to try to develop new concepts or new shows, which is definitely important on the Internet at the moment."
Until April 30, independent filmmakers have the opportunity to submit concepts to Dailymotion. It will then pick the first batch of filmmakers, who will be able to start using the production facilities in around mid-June.
It's a worldwide competition - Dailymotion has received a lot of ideas from outside France, especially London, which is less than a two-hour train ride away.
The offer may be attractive to young filmmakers, says Westcott, but they should be "careful that they are not giving away too much."