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FremantleMedia Claims Rights to YouTube User-Uploaded Clips

FremantleMedia is turning thousands of fan-uploaded YouTube clips of “American Idol” — and dozens of other shows it produces — into cash.

In a partnership pairing two corporate cousins, TV production firm FremantleMedia is working with BroadbandTV to identify and manage user-uploaded content on YouTube for more than 200 shows, including “American Idol,” “The Price Is Right,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Baywatch” and “The X Factor.”

FremantleMedia is owned by European entertainment conglomerate RTL Group, which holds a majority stake in BroadbandTV.

Using YouTube’s Content ID system for tracking copyrighted material, FremantleMedia has already claimed ownership of some 500,000 clips, according to Olivier Delfosse, FremantleMedia’s senior VP of digital. Now, with BroadbandTV’s system in conjunction with Content ID, the company expects to find significantly more, and that will expand Fremantle’s advertising inventory on the site.

“For us, it’s like flipping a switch to an immediate expansion of our business,” Delfosse said.

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YouTube allows copyright owners to opt to remove user-generated content flagged as rightfully theirs. But Fremantle is leaving the user-generated clips it finds in place, not only to collect more ad revenue but to tap their promotional value.

“When we see a fan of our show who has gone through the hassle of uploading (content from) it, it’s not an indication of them stealing from us — we see it as fan loyalty,” Delfosse said.

Fremantle’s own business on YouTube is sizable, and the company claims to be the world’s biggest provider of TV-related content to the site. It has 140 owned-and-operated YouTube channels, generating some 550 million views per month. The fan-uploaded content FremantleMedia claims will eventually be included within larger premium advertising packages.

“It doesn’t matter if we upload the official clip or a user does — the value to the advertiser is the same,” Delfosse said.

Other media companies that use BroadbandTV’s YouTube UGC-management services include the NBA and cable network A&E. BroadbandTV also runs a YouTube multichannel network with 16,000 content creators generating 1.6 billion monthly views.

Shahrzad Rafati, BroadbandTV’s founder and CEO, said the startup’s Viso Novi tool lets clients create guidelines for tracking specific content types and then apply policies to place ads against that content or to block it. For media companies, the typical ratio of fan-uploaded video to official video is 60/40, she said, but it’s much higher in Fremantle’s case.

“The Fremantle content is very viral. They have this massive tribe for each show,” she said. “The Fremantle fans are more engaged so we feel the opportunity is even greater for them.”

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