Friday's $125 million IPO filing by Demand Media, the foremost content "factory" or "farm," raises the question of whether its low-cost, high-volume content creation model is the future for independent online video, or if its specialized approach is just applicable to its chosen how-to/knowledge-oriented niches.
Back in March, '09 I described how Demand's approach had enabled it to become the biggest supplier of online video to YouTube, with its ExpertVillage and eHow brands delivering the highest number of views of any YouTube partner. While not a household name, Demand pioneered a new approach to choosing which content to create, how to create it, and how to monetize and value it.
Based on multiple data sources, Demand developed a set of algorithms that could help predict the likely consumption and monetization potential of video on a given how-to/knowledge topic. When promising ones were identified, assignments would be offered out to a large freelance network of producers who would follow creative guidelines while still enjoying an ample amount of flexibility. Content is published to Demand's own sites and to 3rd parties to whom it syndicates. Social media and user contributions are emphasized as well.
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