I’ve seen a number of articles about Revver recently. I was a bit hard on Revver a while back and I haven’t completely changed my mind about their model, but I do respect what they are trying to do as far as compensating content creators. The problem, as I have said before, is that low-quality streamed content is about syndication and not direct monetization. The low-quality stream is the advertisement. And the reason why you don’t see Revver videos all over the place is that those same videos are already available on sites like YouTube. The creator might republish through Revver, but syndicators (MySpacers, bloggers, etc.) are going to YouTube to find and embed the clip. This is a big problem for Revver.
Anyway, the point is that it is in broad syndication across thousands of sites that streamed videos might really generate some views, but it is in sustained syndication that real revenue might start to flow. There are plenty of individuals out there creating shooting stars, videos that explode in popularity and then fade with the creator never having really identified how to reproduce the hit. But by the time these content creators realize they have a hit, it’s all over. People have already watched it as a YouTube embed and moved on to the next thing. This is currently the dominant model for most Web video phenoms; they are one-hit wonders.
The money made through services like Revver will be made on what I would call serialized snowballs (Umair being the source of the snowball part.) These are video assets that are serialized in some way such that the creator or the aggregator can consistently reproduce an audience. (Revver’s example of the Coke/Mentos guys being a classic example.) But in the very near future, anyone that has valuable serialized content is going to look at better ways to monetize that traffic than static post-roll advertising in a low-quality streamed video asset. The problem is that there are better ways to earn really high CPMs and still generate significant syndication. (We think the opportunities lie in the role of the aggregator, but that’s for a separate post.)
Sorry, Revver. I really dig the idea of helping content creators get paid for their work and I think you guys are really bright. Creator compensation is something that is going to become increasingly important and you guys have clearly put the idea on the front burner. My fear is that Revver never quite fully satisfies either audience. It is not that great for the shooting star because the star was launched by YouTube. It’s also not that great for the serialized snowball because the snowball is getting monetized through a dedicated channel or aggregator. I think Revver sits somewhere in between and I’m not sure how big that market is (if it even exists.)