Q&A: Dailymotion CRO Damien Pigasse Discusses Programmatic and Profitability

Damien PigasseLast year Dailymotion, the Orange-owned video hosting platform, launched the Dailymotion Exchange, which sees 10 billion bids per month for its 2.5 billion video views each month. The platform also has over 45,000 content producers (Dailymotion no longer allows user-generated content on its platform) and has over 200 million qualified profiles. Here Damien Pigasse, CRO at Dailymotion, discusses the platforms move to programmatic, Dailymotion’s data strategy, and the secret to building a profitable business with video advertising.

Could you provide a little background on the Dailymotion Exchange, how it’s evolving and who you’re partnering with from the buy-side? 

Since launch last summer, Dailymotion Exchange has fostered a new form of brand awareness of the advertising opportunities on Dailymotion. Owning an independent private video exchange has also opened up new advertising opportunities for our programmatic activity and eased the process of connecting to new demand sources.

Among others, Dailymotion Exchange has partnered with major video DSPs and first of them was TubeMogul who we have been working with for years, and that was in the first steps of the launch process of DMX. The actual partnership with TubeMogul allows their advertisers to leverage our inventory and data across different screens (CTV, mobile, desktop and gaming consoles). Connecting to major demand platform is also part of the advertising experience process. This allows us to keep in touch with all sort of market needs and to progressively adapt and customise our offering to our buyers’ needs.

Recently the Wall Street Journal reported that YouTube still isn’t profitable for Google. Is Dailymotion profitable and what do you think is the secret to running a profitable video publishing business?

I have the feeling that that article surprised a lot of people! Dailymotion has been profitable for few years now and the revenues are, of course, still growing. There is no magic in this. Since the beginning we have been scaling our monetisation strategy.

We simply couldn’t afford to have offices everywhere which is why programmatic has been such a major opportunity for us. After being very early adopters of RTB in display, we understood that it would be an easy win for video. So Dailymotion has focused less on things like brand awareness and PR, and more on technology, content, campaign performances and yield.

For years now we have had a dedicated team (in Paris, NY, London, Palo Alto) that handles all the programmatic buys in almost 55 countries. We yield our almost 100 buyers daily and the results are here : advertisers come back and spend more because they seem to have the performances they were expecting. And our CPMs are growing too! Programmatic forms almost 65 percent of our revenues now.

The launch of DMX was the last piece of the strategy. We of course have direct sales too. We anticipated the market evolution and the teams are strongly focused on custom campaigns, including branded content, production, (we have produced 150 videos for brands in the last two years), native advertising and cross-device operations. Our creative approach to the market has enabled us to generate higher CPMs and more profitability.

And are the buys typically on a programmatic guaranteed or do you also sell via real-time bidding (RTB)?

The main purpose of Dailymotion Exchange is to enable us to manage yield more effectively, and real-time bidding has been at the heart of much of our activity. This has especially been the case since launch last summer, as our buyers have come to understand how valuable Dailymotion’s video inventory is. However, our advertising offering includes a large range of solutions, including programmatic premium campaigns or PMP solutions in addition to traditional RTB. Having that flexibility allows us to accommodate different kinds of buyers and to satisfy all forms of demand.

How much of your inventory is derived from live streams?  Is live content growing in popularity and are you seeing growth in any particular content categories?

A very significant part of our views are now live streamed. Since 2007, we noticed that there was an audience for live content. Whether it’s a live sport event or a panda giving birth, we have found that people want to follow videos in real-time, regardless of where they are in the world.

Dailymotion was built scaled to make both the broadcasting and viewing of such content easy for people. We have also become a great platform for gamers, who are of course heavy users of live events. We recently launched of games.dailymotion.com on PC , mobile and tablet early 2015 in partnership with some great companies such as Eclipsia and Millenium TV in France. Two months after the launch, the platform is already huge success and the focus is now on developing it in the US.

To be perfectly honest I was initially surprised at how much interest there programmatic buyers in live content. We see excellent view-through rates and click-through rates due to the additional engagement from users and also due to the size of the player, as live viewers tend to watch in full screen. There will be a dedicated live offering from the end of March.

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