Level Up Media: Changing the game for online video content

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Since its formation in 2015 DingIt.tv has been a quiet contender to YouTube’s gaming video throne, making slow inroads into a space that its more established competitor has long had locked down.

Adam Simmons is the VP of content and marketing at DingIt’s recently established parent company Level Up Media, and says that the primary difference between DingIt and other competitors in the space lies in the content: all of DingIt’s content is premium, something that works well for both creators, viewers and advertisers.

“All of the content's reviewed by our staff to make sure that it's entertaining, that it's high quality, that it's tagged correctly and also that it's brand safe for as partners,” says Simmons. “What this allows us to do is provide viewers with a quick and easy way to find the best content that they're looking for. It allows our advertisers to basically pay for great positions against great content, which in turn allows us to pay our content creators very efficiently for that.”

While creating with advertisers in mind might be viewed as a negative, when advertisers pull out of content, as has recently happened around several gaming channels on YouTube, video creators are the ones to take the hit.

“We are only premium content, so looking at some of the issues there's been in video advertising recently, a lot of those concerns that advertisers have is around brand safety.” Simmons explains. “There was plenty in the news recently about issues where what a creator may feel is acceptable is not necessarily the same that all advertisers would find appropriate and that's understandable.”

Simmons could be referring to a lot of incidents, with video creators often putting themselves in hot water by saying or doing the wrong thing. The most recent, and most familiar to many readers, will be Disney cutting ties with monolithic YouTube star Felix ‘Pewdiepie’ Kjellberg after anti semitic videos.

“If you're a major brand, they tend to like to go down the middle of any opinion,” says Simmons. “They don't like to be too extreme either way. Safe stuff is always better.”

“If you're a major brand, they tend to like to go down the middle of any opinion. They don't like to be too extreme either way. Safe stuff is always better.”

According to Simmons, this creates a raft of problems for a user-generated platform looking to police its content, with hundreds of hours of video uploaded every single minute. DingIt is a premium platform however, and moderates all of its content before it goes live on the website, meaning their moderation is proactive rather than reactive, and they can promise a safer environment for advertisers.

“Everything that goes onto the site is reviewed before it goes live by one of our team,” says Simmons. “They check it for the content to make sure for viewers that it's really great and entertaining, but also, from an advertising perspective, that it's not offensive, or got harassment in there or hate speech, which from a gaming background ... A lot of gaming content creators have a different view to what maybe mainstream advertisers do of what's appropriate to say.”

Simmons says that in addition to keeping things clean for advertisers, there’s education on both sides and most creators don’t realise they’re doing or saying something that might turn potential advertisers away. Considering outside of Patreon or a tip jar basically all of content creators finances come from lucrative deals with partners.

“A lot of the creators we work with don't actually know why advertisers would have a problem with it, or they don't think about it, and one of the things we do is that by educating them it not only helps them get better revenue when they're working with someone like us, but also is useful with letting creators know how to present themselves and their content if they want to build their brand and ensure they have a sustainable business model in games.

“Just when they're working with sponsors and other things, knowing how to present themselves and their content can be a really effective way to up their brand and also up their ability to have a sustainable business within gaming.”

DingIt licenses content directly from not just games creators, but also professional entities like esports teams and leagues. Simmons describes the relationship not just as moderating, but also giving everyone involved with Dingit advice on how to make money and build a great audience.

While most creators work on a revenue sharing model, while DingIt does things a little differently. “We pay them a fixed fee for every video they put on our platform,” Simmons notes. “So video makers don't have to worry about a revenue share, or one month getting 100,000 views but making less money than a previous month where they had 80,000 views. They know they're going to get that reliable, stable, income. When we speak to a lot of our partners, one of the most infuriating things is they don't know how much money they're going to make. It could be anything, and that makes it very hard to plan and reinvest into content and equipment.”

Simmons estimates DingIt has probably worked with tens of thousands of content creators over the last few years, but is keen to stress that it’s about quality and not quantity. License fees paid to partners is regularly looked over to ensure everyone is getting a fair pay out, and it seems to be working for the company.

At the end of last year, Level Up Media was formed as a parent company for DingIt, part of the  overarching strategy to establish additional sites that will cater to different areas of the overall gaming community.

“In September, we’re launching a site called The Gamer and that's going to be targeting mainstream, casual players. People who've got consoles, they buy all the AAA titles. They play quite a lot of Call of Duty, FIFA, Assassin's Creed and other big franchises but wouldn't necessarily identify as a hardcore gamer.

“These are people who, if they see gaming content, if they see a funny video or a fail or tips and tricks video, will click and watch. They won’t necessarily go and watch a six hour livestream.”

“These are people who, if they see gaming content, if they see a funny video or a fail or tips and tricks video, will click and watch. They won’t necessarily go and watch a six hour livestream.”

It’s about catering for multiple audiences, Simmons explains. “If you look at football you have people who will go and watch a match. Those are the people who will go to a stadium for games. You'll have people who will buy Sky TV or Sky Sports and watch every Premiership football game live at the weekend. Then there are the people that watch via Twitter or Match of the Day and that’s their lot. All of this maps over onto games, and we’re looking to try and be there for as many of those different types of people as possible.

“I think with DingIt, The Gamer and other things we have in the pipeline, we’ll be able to do that with some success.”

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