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By Leah Montebello
90 Seconds’ founder, Tim Norton, and Catch&Release founder, Analisa Goodin explain why the growth in crowdsourced content continues post pandemic.
“Brands have realized this is a better way to build award-winning campaigns. It’s faster, more affordable, and delivers an unparalleled level of authenticity” – Analisa Goodin, CEO and founder of Catch&Release
Crowdsourced content is not only efficient content for brands to use, but arguably the most authentic. With crowdsourced content, campaigns feel more ‘real’ and engage an audience in a completely different way.
Crowdsourced content comes in many forms. Producers & Procurers iQ spoke to Catch&Release, which adopts a pull approach, acquiring ‘found’ content from across the open web and Singapore-based 90 Seconds, which has a push mechanism, sharing briefs with their community of creatives to deliver content. They represent two ends of the crowdsourced spectrum, and set themselves apart from stock library platforms because the content is both unique and authentic.
The brainchild of Analisa Goodin, founder and CEO, Catch&Release have raised $14 million in their most recent funding round in March 2021, bringing their total investment to $26 million. They plan to use this to further develop their licensibility offering, as well as accelerate marketing to make Catch&Release an industry staple.
As a leading content licensing platform for sourcing and licensing content from the internet, Catch&Release enables brands and advertisers to secure copyright and model releases, manage license rates and data, and indemnify content, all in one place. Their recent clients include Jeep and Samsung.
In contrast, 90 seconds focuses more on the creation of content and defines itself as a global video platform. They allow brands to create quality videos anywhere in the world and have revolutionised the way video production is managed by simplifying the complexity behind video production. 90 seconds use unique technology, including an end-to-end suite of collaboration tools, which helps brands connect and track offline video shoots back to an automated online workflow.
Under Tim Norton, CEO and founder, 90 Seconds has produced almost 40,000 videos in over 100 Countries for over 4,500 Global brands and some of the worlds largest such as Amazon, IBM, Nike and Standard Charter.
The Covid effect
2020 truly made brands and agencies pause to re-evaluate their structures and output. With shoots unable to move ahead and the entire world remote, both Catch&Release and 90 Seconds noted changes in their work.
It has been suggested that crowdsourcing video content reduced in popularity in the years leading up to the pandemic, and whilst there is some truth in this, Norton underplays the levels of reduction.
“We don’t think there was necessarily a reduction in the need for ‘crowdsourcing’ video content prior to the pandemic. In reality, the need for remote shoots has always been in demand for the enterprises that we have always been working with”, he says.
However, what the pandemic did was accelerate the embrace of ‘crowdsourcing’ services. Not only did Covid-19 restrictions mean that travelling wasn’t possible, but “the only way to continue creating original content around the world and shoot anywhere was to engage a network of activated and verified content creators to do the job”.
According to Norton, remote shoots rocketed in popularity and proved to be the most effective and cost-efficient way to keep content production alive.
For Catch&Release, the past 16 months is also a success story. They secured funding mid-pandemic, doubled the amount of content licensed on their platform in the first quarter of 2021, and also doubled their revenue year-over-year.
Goodin explains how this boost coincided with an increase of work with brands, and their respective in-house teams, rather than their typical clients: agencies. She explains, “I think of the industry as a huge ecosystem of people who play different roles and they have all shifted over time. For a while agencies controlled production and now brands are bringing some of those capabilities in-house”.
The pandemic highlighted how some brands wanted to retain control of their content and whilst brands will continue to rely on agencies for certain services, Goodin predicts that they will keep the majority of production internal in the future.
This is a fundamental shift and highlights how the relationship with agencies, brands and their content is ultimately changing.
The usability of crowdsourced content
Catch&Release utilises ‘found content’ from across the internet and Goodin believes that ‘found content’ can work for almost every brand and campaign format – especially when the brand leverages actual customers in their campaigns.
As Goodin explains, “It’s a great way to feature customer feedback in an authentic way. We’ve also seen that medium matters. For example, if you’re building a TikTok ad, using content found on TikTok is a great way to build high-impact creative”.
As expected, the biggest issue that Catch&Release have noted with crowdsourced content is around licensability and it is the raison d’être for Catch&Release to streamline that process.
The platform mitigates the dangers of crowdsourcing content and provides real time updates on the status of the content the client chooses.
90 Seconds is equally confident in crowdsourced content, claiming how it can work in most, if not all, campaigns. Indeed some of their most prominent and popular content creations are customer stories and virtual events, which they claim to be very effective in keeping the engagement and businesses going in an era where face-to-face interaction was so heavily limited by the pandemic.
However, what Norton does emphasise is that “it’s all about briefing the job to the right set of content creators” and “there is nothing worse than not having your content brief executed the way you wanted”.
As such, 90 Seconds matches customers with specific content creators to ensure quality and customer satisfaction, and have dedicated teams that will see through the whole production process, which can be monitored on an end-to-end platform.
The future of crowdsourcing
As the world gradually opens up, it seems this momentum for crowdsourced content is far from slowing down.
As Goodin says, “Brands have realized this is a better way to build award-winning campaigns. It’s faster, more affordable, and delivers an unparalleled level of authenticity”.
This is echoed by Norton who says, “You can’t deny the power of crowdsourcing content in this modern day world. There are so many benefits that go way beyond cost reduction”. In fact, he cites access to global creative talent as a huge benefit of remote shoots, and believes that their usability is here to stay, pandemic and beyond.