Non US Viewers Aren’t as Valuable: Metacafe Won’t Pay for exUS Views

Many big online-video deals are US focused, and want to exclude paying for exUS markets. I understand this, as my marketing job is US only. I represent the US on a “global marketing team” but I don’t have control on exUS spend, nor does it impact my bonus significantly.

Metacafe, a site born is Israel with extensive exUS views, has long realized they could more easily attract US advertisers. But the creators (who participate in Metacafe Rewards) were paid about $5 for 1,000 views). Yesterday Metacafe announced a New Deal for its creators — some of whom were monetizing their videos soley on Metacafe and were making as much as $100K a year.

According to a forum post, Metacafe will pay $2 for every 1,000 views a video accepted into the program receives in the United States – via its web site or embedded player. For videos already accepted into the program, views that occur outside the United States will no longer count toward payment. As usual, the video must be viewed 20,000 times to be in the Producer Rewards program, and payments aren’t made until the video earns $100.

Here’s the interesting part of the story. I expected to see a creator revolution on Metacafe’s forum, but there was surpising empathy. Perhaps the disgruntled creators have already abandoned the site, and maybe creators are being gentle in hopes they will receive favorable treatment. But the feedback was largely supportive: see for yourself.

I am even more impressed that the forum manager “Asaf” appears to have freedom to address concerns — even about the financial state of the company: “Metacafe is not going out of business. As a private company we don’t disclose financial details, but I can tell you that we are growing our revenues each quarter and have plenty of cash in the bank. These changes to the Producer Rewards program will help better align the program costs with our revenues, and, as I said earlier, will keep us in the game for a while longer.” If this was a public company we’d never see a statement like that, of course. But it’s a refreshing part about a smaller company… direct communication between creators and someone who makes policy decisions. 

We’re seeing the ecomony impact the online-video space, but some of this shouldn’t be surprising. Revver and Metacafe made financial commitments to creators that required them paying even if ad dollars weren’t flowing. It was a risk they took to attract creators, and it made them defacto amateur charity foundations. YouTube, by contrast, has a low-risk deal. If they sell ads, creators get a percentage. No ads, no revenue. My recommendation is that Metacafe do the same thing. Good creators will have inventory, and videos that can’t fetch ads won’t cost the company. It’s a tough transition but it’s fair.

Fortunately YouTube’s payment to Nalts was solid for October, but still not enough to rescue mounting debt. In a wonderful moment of irony, I’ve been interupted from writing this post 18 times because my wife is looking at our bank accounts and managing cash flow. Ahhh… the sweet smell of a recession. As Kit Kitridge said in “American Girl Doll” movie, “the depression was hard but it taught us a lot.” 

15 Replies to “Non US Viewers Aren’t as Valuable: Metacafe Won’t Pay for exUS Views”

  1. A 60% reduction of $0 of current and future earnings is strangely unimportant to me. They could lower it to 50 cents per 100,000 views and it still wouldn’t affect my bottom line. I wish they would just pay me $5 to go away like MotionTV did.

  2. MetaCafe is stupid. I don’t like them. Their model irks me – YouTube’s is way better and it’s nowhere near a full/complete model. They are still trying NEW things – something else MetaCafe could be doing.

  3. haha.
    no seriously.
    this site is strangely cool! they are running their metadata on a wiki based platform

  4. My note to Michael Buckley 10 minutes ago: > Do you ever have a funk (lasting a few days to a week or so) where you lose your zest for video completely? If so, how do you snap out of it?

    His response: You just have to remind yourself how FUN it actually is and there are literally thousands of people who enjoy what you are doing.” (the a bunch of private stuff on how well things are going).

    My response before coming to WVFF to hide: I wish you were more of a douche bag so I could wish you ill or be jealous.

  5. You know you’re in a funk when not only can you not think of a creative idea, but you find barely any videos even mildy amusing (gasp- even your own).

  6. Why should every GD thing be amusing? You living in a theme park or something? Expecting to see Disney characters downstairs at the breakfast table every morning? Pfffft. Jump on your Harley, pick up a hooker on 3rd and a fifth on sixth and head on down to Juarez. See a midget called Pepper at the Pinchay Gringo Bar in the redlight district. He’ll fix you up. And get a tattoo while you’re down there, gdammit.

  7. I spoke with some people at Metacafe the other day. As far as paying creators, I get their new stance. But if they want to start making deals that appeal to professional content creators, they’re going to have to exploit that homepage a lot better.

    They use a “wisdom of the masses” reviewing system that controls the content on their homepage. In my opinion, that real estate is too valuable NOT to be FULLY programmed by an editor – a person with Metacafe’s advertising and strategic relationships in mind. Otherwise, it doesn’t look all that different from a UGC catch-all. Bleeecch.

  8. Here’s my 2 cents:

    The best way to stay out of debt is not to generate any. Don’t buy stuff you can’t afford. Pay off your credit card each month. Make sure you put something into savings. It is that simple.

    I don’t have cable, drive an old car, my house is paid off (but only because my mother died), I have no credit card debt, and I have a quite sizable money market account. You just have to learn to live BELOW your means.

  9. @Bobby:

    You make a good point, and one I tried to make when I was working at Metacafe. But Metacafe can’t dictate what goes on the homepage because that would imply that their employees are actually watching the videos, and that would make them liable for any pirated material that pops up on their site. (Remember how Viacom wanted to find out if YouTube employees were watching pirated videos.) So theoretically, all those people work at Metacafe without actually watching anything.

    Of course, Metacafe employees CAN watch videos submitted to contests and Producer Rewards, because the assumption there is that those videos are original. So why not just limit the homepage to Producer Rewards videos and contest entries?

    Because most of Metacafe’s traffic depends on that pirated material, from professional soccer clips to R-rated scenes from movies. They can’t depend on user-generated content to sustain traffic, because not all independent producers have the talent of Nalts. (And even Nalts didn’t resonate with most Metacafe users, mostly because he didn’t make videos about topless soccer.)

    So Metacafe is now floundering around for not just a business strategy, but a reason for existence.


  10. @13
    My electric bill this month was $23.47. Do you know how many days I had to sit in the dark with nothing on but the refrigerator to get that bill down that low this month?

    Most of them.

Comments are closed.