Viibar partners with Yahoo Japan, looking to help companies produce attractive video content



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Viibar, the Japanese startup focused on a crowdsourced video production service, announced on Monday that it has fundraised from 700 million yen (about $5.8 million) from Yahoo JapanGlobis Capital Partners (GCP), and Gree Ventures. GCP and Gree Ventures also participated in the previous funding round.

In tandem with the funding, Viibar partnered with Yahoo Japan and invited Osamu Aranami, Corporate Officer and President of Yahoo Japan’s marketing solution company, to its board of management, aiming to develop new services/video advertising businesses by offering video production resources to the top-tier Japanese internet portal.

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Viibar has acquired over 2,000 crowdsourced video creators to date. According to the company’s CEO Yuta Kamisaka, the main purpose of the funding at this time is to strengthen human resources, planning to enhance their 40-person team to 100 people including contract-based workers. In addition to human resources with prowess in crowdsourced video production services, the company will more focus on hiring data analysts, adtech engineers and other experts who will work on joint efforts with Yahoo Japan.

From the right: Viibar CEO Yuta Kamisaka and CTO Takeshi Matsuoka. Matsuoka is former CTO of Japanese internet giant Mixi.

What’s extremely interesting about this funding is that Yahoo Japan didn’t take a large stake in Viibar, despite that fact that this kind of minority investment is usually made by YJ Capital, the investment arm of Yahoo Japan, rather than Yahoo Japan itself. Kamisaka said he couldn’t yet disclose details about what the two companies are planning to do but they will hold a press briefing to unveil it in the near future.

However, I would like to make a few predictions concerning what will happen to Viibar, based on our interviews with Kamisaka. His phrase “data-driven video production” provided a clue. He explained:

Since our business has become profitable, we will use up the funds in a relatively short-term – maybe in two years – to establish a structure for an IPO. Details will be announced at a press briefing later on, but we plan to aggregate data from Yahoo Japan and other partners, associating them with video creatives via online dashboard so that advertisers can improve on performance for online promotion campaigns.

Upon hearing of combined data analytics and video, if you come up with the concept of distributed content model, you should be proud to count yourself among the media geeks. Under this concept, content publishers don’t intend to invite readers to their sites but rather measure its influence by consolidating engagements through such leading social media as Facebook and Twitter.

Visual content in the form of videos and images is considered to carry a great influence in distributed content sites so even NowThis News shut down its website and lives exclusively on live social media platform activities.

As a result, news media sites focused on the distributed content model are now forced to explore more efficient means of posting a content item instead of a website containing it. They will need to take more care about when to publish a content item, how to write a catchy headline, and how to replace it, such as with a new, more suitable types of content that match each of the multiple social media platforms.

In view of the process exploring the most efficient types of content to attract viewers, I think they need to adopt a similar approach to what typical adtech solution providers have been offering. Like A/B testing in developing an attractive banner ad, the distributed type content sites will need to produce many types of content and test them out.

In addition to crowdsourced video production platforms if Viibar had provided an automated marketing solution that allows media sites to see which social media platforms, when and what visual content should be distributed to attract viewers the most, it would be useful to propose efficient video ads for clients.

If my predictions come true, Yahoo’s intense interest in and high valuation for Viibar now makes good sense. In a recent interview, Kamisaka didn’t explicitly tell us anything about this but provided the following comment:

Until now, video production have been an all-or-nothing bet for companies in terms of what taste attracts users. However, Viibar will open up the world of video productions to the bottom-up approach from the creator side. So our platform will enable companies to implement a rapid PDCA (plan-do-check-action) cycle upon online video campaigning.

Translated by Conyac crowdsourced translation service
Edited by Masaru Ikeda and “Tex” Pomeroy