TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / June 1, 2021 / Creators deserve to get paid for their work. This isn’t a controversial claim. And yet thousands upon thousands of creators who make their living on monetized platforms like YouTube aren’t paid fairly for their work.
These creators aren’t falling short because of some global flaw in monetization algorithms, though many would argue that they deserve a larger share of platforms’ profits.
No, these creators aren’t taking home what they deserve because content theft is rampant on the Internet. That this is subtle, high-tech theft that doesn’t involve violence or even coercion doesn’t make it any less of an existential threat to the creatives and content businesses it harms.
Intellectual Property Theft Is a Big, Big Problem
As the undisputed leader in digital video content, YouTube is also the epicenter for digital video content theft. The platform quietly battled the problem for years before updating its algorithm to effectively demonetize channels with fewer than 10,000 views – a move that, while destabilizing for smaller creators, was widely viewed as essential to weed out smaller-scale content thieves.
Though welcome, YouTube’s move wasn’t enough. Indeed, digital video content theft and misuse has historically been so widespread as to be difficult to quantify, and the problem has grown along with the volume of original content.
Most creators today operate on a high-risk and potentially costly version of the honors system, posting their videos and hoping that the same (or similar) segments don’t appear elsewhere. They utilize hopelessly inadequate DIY tactics to find and remove the stolen or misused content that inevitably appears downstream of their original. And though they may use reliable webpage content monitoring solutions to track traffic to and revenue generated by their own websites, they don’t have access to the tools that offer similar granularity for their YouTube channels.
A Solution Whose Time Has Come
At least, they don’t think they have that access. They do now, thanks to a Toronto-based digital rights management firm called Aux Mode.
Aux Mode’s core product is a revenue-reporting software solution that provides robust, concise reports across creators’ entire digital platform footprint. Used widely by creators in film, television, and digital video, its value is self-evident to anyone with firsthand experience of content misuse.
Aux Mode automatically tallies up user-generated content revenue (revenue from stolen content), transactional revenue, and partner content revenue (legitimate usage) while breaking out producer and union fees, filing distribution agreements, and ensuring accurate reporting to revenue-share partners. The solution doubles as an analytics suite that provides a detailed picture of how third parties use its clients’ content and illuminates the specific titles, series, and content types that generate the most user interest (and theft). That’s helpful not just for backward-looking accounting teams but for creators and co-producers looking ahead to the next opportunity.
Killer Products Don’t Sell Themselves
Today, Aux Mode is a growing company that fills a critical need for content creators – one that’s unlikely to go away anytime soon. But the company’s touch-and-go early years serve to remind us that a killer product can only take you so far. When it stops selling itself, you’d better be ready.
Aux Mode’s revenue-reporting solution did sell itself for a time. In its first three years, founder Adam Rumanek onboarded a staggering 1,200 clients with no sales staff and got Aux Mode into the black.
Rumanek’s prior startup experience was a plus – he’d been in the game since Web 1.0, selling his first Internet company in 2000 – but it was clear by year four that he’d need help to scale. So, in 2015, he hired Jessie Behan, a former YouTube sensation (“Bridezilla”) who would find herself with the task to grow Aux Mode from the ground up. It would fall to Behan to professionalize and grow Aux Mode, turning its self-evident potential into an investment-grade digital enterprise that could serve video content creators on a global scale.
Running Aux Mode out of the house she shared with her then-partner, now-husband Rumanek, Behan identified a host of inefficiencies that would hinder the company’s growth. Rumanek used Google Spreadsheets to organize and run payroll himself. He spent about 60 hours per month manually running and poring over analytics reports. Hiring, such as it was, was a word-of-mouth affair. And Aux Mode relied on lawyer friends and acquaintances to handle its contracts.
Behan systematically undid these inefficiencies. She streamlined bookkeeping, outsourced accounting and payroll, improved internal communications and workflows, and partnered with a YouTube legal firm to scale Aux Mode’s IP protection services. Most importantly, she worked with Rumanek to develop a foundational corporate structure to run the company.
IP Theft Prevention Is Bigger Than a Software Solution
Aux Mode has expanded well beyond its original revenue-reporting product. Though reporting remains at the core of its business model, Aux Mode sits atop a growing suite of digital rights management and IP theft-prevention services that make it a multifunctional solution for video content producers, studios, and distributors of all sizes. This includes a suite of managed services for clients that lack the resources to handle CID/CMS and YouTube channel management on their own.
The company’s trajectory holds lessons for the ambitious content creators it serves, too: double down on what you’re good at, outsource everything else, and remember that the profit is in the details.
SOURCE: Aux Mode
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