What Happened To Dailymotion: The Tragic Fate Of Dailymotion

Ethan
0

THE STATE OF DAILYMOTION

Remember Dailymotion? 10 to 15 years ago, Dailymotion was one of the leading video-sharing platforms in the world after YouTube of course. They were often much slower than YouTube at taking down copyrighted content. 


They also had looser rules regarding when a frequent copyright infringer would actually be taken off the platform which made them a honeypot for cartoons, TV shows, and movies. In fact, just a couple of years ago, Dailymotion was fined €5.5 million for precisely this and that was just one of several occasions. 



What Happened To Dailymotion


But with the rise of affordable streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ and the utter domination of YouTube, Dailymotion has largely fallen into the shadows or at least that’s what you would think. It turns out that Dailymotion is still quite popular amongst a demographic outside of Western countries.

 

In November of 2023, for example, much of their web traffic came from India, Indonesia, Egypt, and Vietnam which added up to a total of Dailymotion enjoyed 582 million visitors. To be fair, YouTube enjoyed 117 billion visitors, so Dailymotion obviously does not even come close to YouTube pulling in just 0.5% of the traffic. 


With that being said though, Dailymotion is still very much a giant in its own right, but that’s pretty much the only thing that Dailymotion still has going for themselves at this point. In mid-2015, a French media holding company called Vivendi bought out the vast majority of Dailymotion for just $241 million. 


For perspective, Google bought YouTube for over 5 times that price nearly 10 years earlier. And it’s not like Dailymotion was late to the video streaming game either. They were actually founded way back in March of 2005 just 30 days after YouTube. 


But, Dailymotion never enjoyed that same growth or success of YouTube or even Vimeo who at one point IPO’d at $8.5 billion. Since then, Vimeo’s valuation has fallen 93% but they’re still worth over twice as much as what Dailymotion was acquired for. So, here’s the tragic story of one of the OG video streaming platforms: Dailymotion. 



HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Taking a look back, the story of Dailymotion dates back to a French man named Benjamin Bejbaum. Ben was born on November 20, 1976, in Paris, France to a family of doctors. Despite his academic lineage though, Ben was never the biggest fan of school. 


In fact, he would quickly develop a reputation for being that lazy kid who skipped school too much and got suspended. But, despite his antics, he did manage to get pretty good grades and would eventually graduate with honors with a degree in mathematics and information sciences. 


He didn’t really have much interest in pursuing mathematics as a career path though. In fact, throughout his college years, he had actually picked up a habit of late-night gaming which quickly turned into Ben teaching himself how to code and creating his own websites and games. 


But, while he enjoyed pursuing these projects, they didn’t exactly pay the bills, so he would end up picking up a bunch of odd jobs throughout the 90s to get by. This included helping tourists, being a telemarketer, and working in the telecom industry. 


Feeling lost, Ben would eventually return to college when he was approached by a cafe manager. The manager was looking to put together a website for his cafe and felt that Ben was the perfect guy to do it and that’s when everything clicked for Ben. 


What he needed to do was create a web design studio and help local businesses create their own websites. He would team up with one of his cousins, and together, they would create Iguana Studio in 2000. 


Over the next couple of years, Iguana Studio would evolve into a decent personal business allowing Ben to take a vacation to New York in 2005, and it was here that the idea for Dailymotion was born. You see, Ben had taken some videos of the snowfall in Manhattan and wanted to share it with his friends and family back in Paris. 


But to his surprise, there was no easy way to share large video files over the internet. So, as soon as he returned home, he would team up with one of his friends, Olivier Poitrey, and whip up a simple site to share videos online called short.tv. 


Initially, this was much more of a public service as opposed to a serious business but to the duo’s surprise, the website would quickly pick up quite a bit of momentum within France. Short.tv was very much just something that these two were running out of Poitrey’s apartment. 


So, to accommodate for this influx in traffic, they would raise a modest €6,000 from 6 people, and they would rename the website Dailymotion. Dailymotion never experienced the scale of growth that YouTube enjoyed but they were growing pretty fast within France. 


In fact, just 18 months after being founded, Dailymotion would lock in the largest French Web 2.0 fundraising round of 2006 worth 7 million euros. Just a few months after this, Google would buy YouTube for $1.65 billion which pushed Dailymotion’s investors to double down on their bet. 


In 2007, they would provide Dailymotion with another 25 million euros in funding to try their hand at global expansion. But while they had access to a large amount of capital, the reality is that no amount of money is ever enough in the world of free online video streaming. And the Dailymotion team would learn this firsthand as they faced challenge after challenge. 



OBSTACLE AFTER OBSTACLE

With little to no content moderation, Dailymotion would almost immediately be dragged into the world of copyright litigation. In fact, just two years after founding the company, Dailymotion would get bogged down with their first copyright infringement lawsuit. 


They tried to argue that they were just a content platform, not an active infringer of copyright regulation, but this argument didn’t hold up in court. The court ruled that Dailymotion was very much aware of copyrighted content being uploaded onto their website, and as such, it was up to them to remove it in a timely manner. 


Not exactly the ruling they were looking for but it’s not like they had the time to appeal. Every single day, Dailymotion was burning boatloads of money keeping the website up and running for millions of people to use for free. 


So, their number one priority was to get monetization up and running so that they could at least offset some of the losses. However, this was a lot easier said than done. You see, in the late 2000s, instream video ads like the one you probably saw before any YouTube video wasn’t even a thing. 


All you had were the static display ads that you saw on websites. Advertisers were also rather skeptical about digital advertising in general. So, Dailymotion was stuck showing display ads on a video platform which as you would guess was not all that lucrative. 


As such, Dailymotion was quickly back on the fundraising table in 2009. The good news though was that they were able to get some pretty reputable backers such as the French government themselves who invested 17 million into the platform. 


Just as Dailymotion was getting back on their feet though, they would be hit with not just another lawsuit but an outright ban from India in May of 2012. Fortunately, India would roll back this ruling in the following months citing that only certain URLs should be blocked for copyright infringement, not entire websites. 


This event made Dailymotion realize that they not only needed allies within France but also around the world. So, they would form partnerships with several international media publications including Hearst Media and Bloomberg. They would also open offices in London, San Francisco, and Singapore. 


This may have given them a better reputation but it didn’t exactly stop the lawsuits. In fact, their home city would fine them for 1.3 million euros in late 2014. This was followed by another temporary ban in India and a permanent ban in Russia. 


Throughout this entire time period, Dailymotion was basically just juggling 3 things over and over again. They were addressing copyright infringement lawsuits, trying to raise money, and then solving issues with scale. 


After that, they would once again address copyright infringement lawsuits, raise capital, and solve issues with scale. This vicious cycle repeated over and over again up until 2017. 


By this point, streaming services were really taking off so most copyright holders turned their focus to monetizing streaming services instead of going after Dailymotion. But, while this finally gave Dailymotion a break, this was also accompanied by a large outflow of users which brings us to the modern-day Dailymotion. 



Also Read:

What Happened To Browser Toolbars?

Exploring Walmart's Flower Selection: Types, Prices, and Options

What Happened To The Once-massive Telecom Company Sprint

Why LinkedIn may be the most powerful social media platform

How Did Europe Fall So Far Behind In Technology



THE TRAGIC FATE

Honestly, I don’t think Dailymotion ever really wanted to be some sort of piracy streaming center. Other sites like Megaupload very much leaned into this persona and used it to their benefit to maximize profits. 


Dailymotion on the other hand was just truly trying to create a competitor to YouTube but it just so happened that piracy is what its users often turned to Dailymotion for. Much of this just had to do with the immense resources that YouTube had thanks to Google. 


They had the advertisers, the ability to stomach insane losses, the Google ecosystem, massive infrastructure, and the ability to pay creators. As such, YouTube was the clear choice for regular videos, and Dailymotion naturally became a place that hosted content that was not available on YouTube which mainly consisted of copyrighted content. 


This put Dailymotion in a really tricky situation. Do they turn a blind eye to copyrighted content to pump up their user base or do they continue with their noble efforts? It seems that Dailymotion was stuck in a constant limbo between these two efforts as they fought one lawsuit after another. 


Eventually, a decision was forced upon them when streaming took off. With affordable streaming services, most people simply had no reason to use an off-brand version of YouTube anymore. As such, the interest in Dailymotion slowly bled out throughout the second half of the 2010s. 


It seems that the founders somewhat expected this as they very much made decisions that would protect themselves from this outcome. In fact, Ben was already taking steps out the door by mid-2008 when he stepped down from being CEO. And he would completely cash out of the company at roughly a 120 million euro valuation in the early 2010s. 


It’s not clear how much of the company he still owned at this point, but if it was any sizable amount, he likely walked away with tens of millions. Since then, it seems that Ben has circled all the way back to academics as he is now a professor of Python at the Albert School in Paris.


 As for Olivier, he stuck around at Dailymotion till mid-2016 as CTO. After that, Olivier would score a job at Netflix as director of engineering. And if you didn’t know, Netflix pays $1.2 million cash for directors of software engineering. So, I think it’s safe to say that the founders are fortunately doing better than ever. The same, however, cannot be said about Dailymotion. 


Over the years, there were some brief moments of great hope for the company. For example, in 2014, Microsoft nearly invested in Dailymotion, something that may have taken the platform to a whole other level. But, this deal unfortunately never came to fruition. 



Wrapping Up

What did end up happening was Vivendi buying out Dailymotion for roughly $300 million. Since then, Dailymotion has really just been running on fumes. The main reason that they’re still somewhat popular today is largely just because they used to be popular. 


And with Dailymotion making decisions like removing the comment section and even the view counter altogether, largely because their videos weren’t getting any views, things don’t look so bright for Dailymotion moving forward. 


Best case scenario, it seems that Dailymotion will just be tossed around from one owner to another just like AOL or Yahoo while it still has some juice left. Eventually, though, that juice will run out at which point the platform will be completely shut down and that is the tragic fate of Dailymotion.

Post a Comment

0Comments

Post a Comment (0)