Saturday, May 12, 2007

UGC Skoeps already cash flow positive

At Blognomics 07 I again heard the story of Skoeps, a joint-venture of PCM and Talpa. Skoeps is a user generated and moderated content site where people can upload videos and pictures of news events and sell them. Excluded are photographs from VIP spotters, paparazzi and ambulance chasers. The site has now 1.2 million page views, 200.000 unique visitors and 4.000 reporters.

After half a year the company behind the site is cashflow positive. It makes money out of advertisements, sales of user generated content (UGC) video and photographs to media companies, delivering a video player, SMS and MMS shared revenue and a web shop. A reporter gets 50 percent of a video or a photograph, which is sold on to a media company. The videos do sell, but the sale of the photographs lag behind; part of the problem is the problem is the perceived amateur treatment of the photographs by professional photo-editors.

Part of the success is the technology, the upload software and the video player. Version 2.0 of Skoeps has been introduced in 2007 earlier than expected. Now the company can move internationally. There is now an English version in the Netherlands, filled with Dutch items as well as a German version. These versions are trials for foreign launches. Foreign services will not necessarily bear the name and logo of Skoeps. The concept and technology are available as white labels as well. For example produces the Flemish and French Belgian sites.

But it was a surprise to hear that Skoeps will be introduced in Africa to countries as Mozambique, Kenia, Nigeria, Ghana and South-Africa. These are not the countries you think first of for expansion. Normally entrepreneurs want to expand in Europe to countries as the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain and last of all to France and using the UK as a stepping stone to the USA. But this service goes to Africa. A foundation has been instituted to steer the activities, which are in a certain way also non-commercial and idealistic. Skoeps wants to go to African countries as this will provide an opportunity to get out of that continent other pictures than the obligated and politically correct photographs. The company Africa Interactive has been set up to collect and distribute the news through internet and mobile. Eventually this company will in due time produce internet television, discussion forums, magazine, web logs, photographs and written news.

To my surprise I read in an Emerce article that Africa Interactive had been set up by an old colleague of mine, Pim de Wit. We worked together in 1979 in the Intermediair Library Project. He was the marketing man and I did the editing. We repackaged free articles of the Intermediair magazine into paid books, which was possible to good marketing (come to think of it: there should be room to repackage free internet info in paid books). We also published a series with titles as time-management and people-management. We called it business porno as we mailed those books in discretely brown paper envelopes. They titles were usually bought, but sometimes a manuscript was offered. I can still remember a book about careers of which the first sentence read like: Your job will come to an end. Hard-nosed Pim went on and made his career in VNU magazines, which were sold to the Finnish company Sanoma in 2001. In 2005 he was moved out of his job as CEO of the Dutch Sanoma magazine division. And this is where his link with Africa starts. After Sanoma he took a social job as the managing director of the Dutch Zoo Association and, amongst others, some elephants and tigers do come from Africa.

Blog Posting Number: 751

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