News agencies that want to cover events happening in restricted parts of the world have had few options for licensing high-quality content. But with the rise of citizen journalism and the spread of viral video during the Arab Spring, a startup called Cont3nt.com is creating a way for publishers to discover and license videos shot by professionals in parts of the world that are difficult to cover.
Cont3nt founder and CEO Anton Gelman calls the marketplace “an e-commerce platform for journalism,” enabling videographers and photographers to license their content to news agencies by giving them full control of the transaction. Journalists can specify 30-, 60- or 90-day exclusive or non-exclusive licenses to their content, with Cont3nt.com handling all billing and order fulfillment.
One big advantage of the Cont3nt platform is that it gives more money back to the content provider. While other marketplaces command as much as 50 or 60 percent of the license fee for content, Cont3nt takes a maximum of 5 percent per transaction. That’ll be key as it hopes to recruit more professional and semi-pro video journalists.
The goal is to bring to light video that might not have been seen, and to help monetize content that would have otherwise ended up on YouTube. While some news agencies have used YouTube footage in their reports, it’s often difficult to verify the accuracy of the reporting and the source of the content.
To that end, Cont3nt currently has about 170 publishers tapped into its platform, and about 15,000 journalists signed up from around the world. It’s focusing specifically on international markets like Sudan, Syria, Libya and Russia. As a result, much of its work has been around ensuring that journalists on the platform provide high-quality content.
“It’s very difficult to verify a piece of content,” Gelman told me in a phone interview. So Cont3nt works to verify and create a trusting relationship with the person delivering the content. To do so, the startup has been searching for good content online and trying to contact journalists directly, and has been recruiting media organizers who work in the regions it’s targeting. Once signed up, they can create media profiles and establish credibility as their content is licensed by major publishers.
All that said, there’s really only one major requirement for producers who wish to license their video on Cont3nt, according to Gelman: “It has to be true, it has to be good and it has to be yours.”