Cannes Lions: Vivendi to Relaunch Dailymotion With Focus on Premium Content, Older Demo

Maroon 5 - H 2015
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Maroon 5 - H 2015

"[Older viewers] are appealing to advertisers because they have money to spend and are very attractive to brands," said Dailymotion chair Maxime Saada.

Vivendi’s Dailymotion is undergoing a redesign, rebuild and rebrand for the site that is often called the European YouTube. It’s a complete overhaul with a focus on mobile-first display ahead of a July 5 relaunch, CanalPlus Group CEO and Dailymotion chair Maxime Saada announced Tuesday at Cannes Lions.

The new Dailymotion will focus on content partnerships with known media brands such as CNN, Disney, GQ, The Guardian, The New Yorker, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Vice and Wired, as well as French media brands Le Monde, L'Equipe and Bein Sports, among others.

Universal Music is also coming on board as a partner brand. Though the record label is part of the Vivendi family, Saada said it was hard to get them to sign on. “As it should be. They have one of the most prized assets in the world, and they’re very careful with their IP and their artists,” the exec said.

However, Dailymotion will not necessarily promote content from its other sister companies, including StudioCanal and CanalPlus. “We are not going to prefer content because it is part of the Vivendi group,” said Saada. But it will put live content from partner Universal's concert events as well as the Cannes Film Festival, of which it is the media sponsor, at the top of feeds.

Vivendi acquired Dailymotion in June 2015 for $240 million and spent two years assessing its new property. The site has 300 million users, which Saada called “massive” and its “critical asset.”

He also touted its “clean content” and zero-tolerance policy for explicit or extremist videos, a problem which has plagued YouTube, as Dailymotion's strengths.

The site will focus on the 25-49 demographic as YouTube “skews younger and younger,” said Saada, and will put an emphasis on premium content, though user-generated videos will still be welcome.

“There is a strong market opportunity,” the exec said of focusing on older viewers. “They have money. They are appealing to advertisers because they have money to spend and are very attractive to brands.” This audience is also more discerning, said Saada, adding, "There will probably be less makeup tutorials.”

The site will promote video from four key verticals — entertainment, news, sports and music — and include a revamped user experience.

The music vertical is especially intriguing, because it will display purchase points for concert tickets as well as ways to buy branded merchandise. Maroon 5 shirts and hats will display vertically when a video is playing, for instance, chief product and technology officer Guillaume Clement demonstrated.

While showing off the sleek new interface, which allows in-video control, Clement displayed a glossy stream of tailored videos and ads. Saada said he reached out to content makers, including the new brand partners, and asked what was missing from YouTube, and set out to create a better user experience based on their data.

“A big difference compared to some of the other platforms is they are technical. We are a tech company, but we are also part of Vivendi, and Vivendi is a content company,” said Saada. He noted that the Vivendi family includes not only Universal but also CanalPlus, Gameloft and Ubisoft.

In another synergistic move, the rebranding campaign was created by Vivendi chair Vincent Bollare’s ad company Havas, run by his son Yannick Bollore since 2014. Vivendi recently acquired a 60 percent stake in Havas from Bollore Group for $2.5 billion.