The Center for Data Innovation spoke with Charley Portet, Head of Strategy at Fruitlab, a video-streaming platform for gaming videos headquartered in London. Portet discussed how Fruitlab’s platform is disrupting the conventional ad revenue model on streaming websites and how the company is staying in line with changing regulations.
Hodan Omaar: Unlike other video-streaming platforms (VSPs), Fruitlab rewards both content creators and viewers with a portion of revenue from ads placed on videos. What is the benefit of this reward model?
Charley Portet: In our model, revenue from ads placed on gaming videos are distributed in the form of PIPS, our unique cryptocurrency token. Content creators, viewers, and Fruitlab earn an equal share of PIPS from the ad revenue placed on videos, which scales with the number of views. PIPs can then be used on the platform to buy gaming-related gift cards and products. Currently, PIPS cannot be taken off-platform but in the future we are working on enabling them to be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies and fiat currency.
There are many benefits that we see from using our model. On the creator side, a user doesn’t need to have already established themselves before being open to the same rewards for their content that an established content creator would. For instance, content creators on some platforms need a minimum number of subscribers before they can start earning. This means a “one hit wonder,” or somebody that previously had a smaller audience, doesn’t receive the same reward for their content as someone with a larger platform would.
Omaar: What was the driving force behind creating Fruitlab?
Portet: The fundamental idea for Fruitlab came in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which sparked a myriad of conversations about the nature of online advertising. For us, one of the most important questions we wanted to address was who gets to benefit from the revenue that online ads placed on user-generated content generate, and how.
Besides sharing revenue with viewers, we believe revenue should be distributed to creators based on the number of interactions a video has, rather than a function of interactions and influence, which credits those with pre-existing reputations. For instance, some platforms give higher ad revenue rates to influencers. Indeed, following the “adpocalypse,” advertising revenues on video-sharing platforms were increasingly being channeled into the pockets of the top content creators. This led to many established creators holding a monopoly on advertising revenue, squeezing out emerging creators, or even those with one-off viral hits, from being fairly rewarded for their content. It also leads to creators feeling they have to create a certain type of content, which ultimately deprives the viewer of originality.
Omaar: Many have described the industry to be in a “crypto winter” with some narratives asserting a lack of confidence in the benefits of digital assets. Given Fruitlab has its own unique token, what do you make of these narratives and how do they impact Fruitlab?
Portet: We are confident that despite the current worries around crypto, our functionality will persevere. Most of the big losses in the markets have been speculative tokens, and their demise demonstrates the necessity for the clear functionality that Fruitlab’s platform has.
We are a platform built on blockchain, not around it. We find that it suits our system and that our token will remain stable since we are reliant on our own platform, not external factors. Even in the event of our listing on an external exchange, we believe the strong fundamentals of our token will enable it to remain stable.
Omaar: More regulations around the world are focusing on imposing safeguards to protect children online, from California’s Online Safety Bill to the UK’s Online Safety Bill. How are such regulations impacting Fruitlab?
Portet: We welcome external guidance and support on regulating the industry for several reasons. First, it is easier for organizations such as ourselves to conform to a consistent set of guidelines and follow clearly defined protocols and codes. Clear guidelines can also help build confidence in the industry and help start-ups to know what they need to be doing for best practice.
It can be tough for smaller businesses and start-ups to follow regulations when they impose high costs of compliance, but if policymakers consider the limitations small businesses may face, we are more than happy to comply. Thankfully, due to the nature of our platform, Fruitlab is already compliant with the Online Safety Bill in the UK where we are headquartered as the measures we have already put in place to limit our exposure to fraudulent activity also serve us well in tackling unsavory behavior.
We also recognize our responsibility outside of any external rulings to protect our audience and ensure they have a safe and pleasurable experience on our site, especially as so many are young, vulnerable, and impressionable. For this reason, we welcome any new standards intended to safeguard these groups and will continue to offer our support in making the internet a safe space for all.
Omaar: I understand Fruitlab is working on how to use NFTs to create new models for content ownership in videos. What can you say about the work you’re doing in this space?
Portet: We are exploring the use of NFT’s as tools for creators to monetize their reach further.
A user’s ability to invest in a creator they follow is compelling. There is already an established culture of donating to your favorite creators within the gaming world, so attaching more interconnections to these transactions makes sense.
Licensing and royalties are another interesting aspect of NFTs, particularly around user generated content that we are looking into. We are excited to enter the space when the time is right for us.