Vid pro quo - Focus | The Star Online

ADVERTISEMENT

Vid pro quo


YouTube marketplace facilitator Sushivid’s goal is to bridge the gap between what advertisers would like to achieve via Internet video and what YouTubers can offer. MEK ZHIN reports.

EVER since the invention of the television, humans have been hooked on the moving image as a source for just about everything. And when the Internet came along, it was only a matter of time before videos went viral globally.

Right now, the giant for videos is none other than YouTube which, since being launched in 2005, has managed to garner over a billion users. That’s almost one-third of Internet users, who spend hundreds of millions of hours on the site every day.

It’s a marketer’s dream come true. But how do you tap it?

Foong Yuh Wen chief sake officer (you read right) and founder of SushiVid, a Brand-YouTuber marketplace, says many businesses out there would love to leverage on the power of video but have no idea how to go about it.

“Especially here in Malaysia, where most brands have no idea whom or how to approach it. Similarly, there are many YouTubers themselves who would like to earn money from the videos they do but have no idea how to go about it. We’re here to bridge that gap,” she says.

In Malaysia, using YouTubers as a marketing tool still requires plenty of education both on the part of brands as well as the YouTubers themselves.

Foong points out that brands need to realise that the platform is a public one and there is no way to guarantee the kind of reaction any kind of content will receive.

“They need to accept that it can go either way. As for YouTubers who create content, they too need to be smart about things. And above all, realise that they are accountable to those who watch their videos and be genuine,” she says.

The good news, however, is that brands can achieve a win-win situation by handling negative things in a cool gentlemanly fashion, taking things in their stride and being sporting. This, more often than not, will raise their esteem in the eye of the public who are always watching.

Foong says YouTubers need to change their mindset, particularly when it comes to putting a price on their content.

“Many, I see, price themselves as if they were a production house. They will want to charge every equipment they use for the making of the video to the client, completely forgetting that at the end of the day that it really should be about what kind of value they can give in return.

“They have to invest in some things on their own,” Foong says.

The dynamics of pricing is a complicated one, and it requires taking into account the YouTuber’s subscriber demographics, average video hits, quality and more.

Part of SushiVid’s current activities is educating both sides of the divide on these points. Their general guideline on such things as pricing as well as answers to other pertinent issues are broadcast via their blog.

According to Foong, one of the key functions of SushiVid is to ensure that payment is settled promptly, an issue that is close to her heart.

“I was once an aspiring actress and I remember that while there was work, there were also many pay-cheques that never came through. It just wasn’t a way to live, so we have set up a system whereby brands have to be prompt with their payment. This also means that YouTubers can rest easy on this matter,” she says.

Currently, Sushivid has some 80 YouTubers, each with a minimum subscriber base of 500 users, signed up on their platform.

“We are working on that, and there are some kinks to work out, including one whereby some are worried about being lured into a ‘trap’ which may end up with them not having control of their own YouTube channels. It has happened before in other set-ups. But we’re not like that.

“We don’t want to control anyone; we just want to create a win-win situation whereby we can all grow together,” she says, adding that SushiVid earns its dough through a 15% fee charged for deals done through them.

In fact, Foong hopes that one day SushiVid will be able to provide more amenities to the YouTubers such as a full-fledge studio to enable them to create even better videos.

ADVERTISEMENT