What is Dailymotion up to in 2023?

Dailymotion has always been the black sheep amongst video platforms. No one really knew anyone actively using it, but you’d sometimes stumble upon it via Google video search results. The existence of Dailymotion used to confuse me, next to the giant that is YouTube for both private and commercial users as well as Vimeo, which is mostly positioned as a portfolio platform for professionals and video delivery network now. And recently the vertical video platforms like Tiktok of course.

But things have been quietly changing at Dailymotion for the last few years. Firstly, there is a new logo now, but that’s certainly the least significant change. Dailymotion has gotten rid of the video view count as well as the comment section in recent years, signalling them moving away from a creator and community focus to a sole video hosting one. And indeed, that appears to be the case with their current strategy, as is evident from the website’s front page and their Playstore listing.

The frontpage now exclusively promotes brands, instead of individuals. For example, my current frontpage in Germany presents me with kicker (popular football news service), Promipool (some celebrity culture boulevard), Buzznews and, funnily enough right under these two outlets, the French Associated Press AFP. All of them have little checkmarks next to their usernames. It’s an odd mix of rather reputable, high profile accounts like the Giro D’Italia and Genius, as well as brands that either don’t have that great of a reputation or aren’t popular to begin with.

What do those companies have to gain from their presence on Dailymotion though? Looking around on the site a bit, I’ve found a “Creators” page, unsurprisingly dubbed Dailymotion Enterprise. It reveals that the company is positioning itself as an all-included PaaS for video delivery now. With customer credentials like Canal+ (completely unrelated to the fact that Dailymotion and Canal+ are both owned by the same company) and Universal. The goal appears to be for customers to “increase engagement” with their own videos, minus the hassle of hosting and securing them. Video content protection is always a big selling point for any such solution, you’ll see this rhetoric on CDN77 and Bunny too for example. Further it highlights the encoding functionality which to be fair is quite attractive to publishers too as it saves time and compute resource. And lastly, Dailymotion appears to not be running any ads so that’s obviously benefitial if a brand looks for a space without that distraction and frustration factor.

And here is where things get a little confusing: Dailymotion claims to have 400 million monthly active users, an impressive number. But what exactly draws those users to Dailymotion over say Instagram Reels, Tiktok or YouTube Shorts? Because Dailymotion’s app is now a vertical video app. The difference being that there is no comment section. You just scroll through a corporate content stream and like things. That feels like a very difficult premise, given how large the other players in the industry are, and Tiktok’s and Instagram’s impressive recommendation engines.

Either way, it’s rather impressive to see that this approach does seem to work for a range of large publishers, based on how Dailymotion used to look five years ago. It will be interesting to see whether the idea of exclusively serving brand content to a community does indeed work, or whether it will rather play out as a video CDN ultimately.