KUALA LUMPUR, May 5 — Malaysians spend an average of 80 minutes per session on YouTube when using mobile devices, double the global average of 40 minutes, according to a study by TNS Research and Google Malaysia — which means brands and marketers are circling.
But tapping into this rich vein of media consumption is easier said than done. Kuala Lumpur-based startup SushiVid is attempting to address this need with its online marketplace that connects brands to YouTube influencers.
“Brands find it hard to look for YouTubers and even if they do find them, they don’t know how to engage with them,” founder and chief executive officer Foong Yuh Wen told Digital News Asia (DNA) in Petaling Jaya recently.
“While for YouTubers, they need paid sponsorships to create better content,” she added.
Founded only in October 2015 and launched in January this year, SushiVid has secured RM50,000 worth of video campaigns, according to Foong.
The idea for the company came when she noticed that many public transport users spent their commutes streaming videos — which meant there was a lot of traffic on video streaming platforms like YouTube.
“So why don’t I drive this traffic to brands? In Malaysia — and in South-East Asia in general — a lot of marketing is done on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but not much on YouTube,” she said, adding that, to her, a video tells a brand’s story better.
As for the name ‘SushiVid,’ Foong said she wanted something “catchy.”
“One day I went for lunch with my friends and they advised me to not spend so much time on deciding the platform’s name.
“And guess what we were having for lunch that day? Sushi, of course,” she added.
YouTubers can join SushiVid for free, but to qualify, they would need at least 250 subscribers to their channel.
According to Foong, the platform has about 180 YouTubers on board currently.
“Sponsored posts nowadays are pretty common among bloggers, where brands give out their products for free to these people, who then promote the products on their blog, Instagram or Facebook,” she said.
“So why don’t we take it a step further and make a video out of it?
“Instead of asking a celebrity to post something for perhaps RM10,000, why not use that same amount and get more up-and-coming YouTubers to make videos about your brand?” she said.
How it works
Foong said YouTubers on SushiVid are segregated according to their audience demographic.
“Brands will go through our platform and submit a brief which we will vet through — YouTubers who fall into that targeted category will then be notified of the brief.
“If the YouTubers are interested, they will have to submit a proposal to the brand — the brand will then evaluate these proposals to select the one that best fits its marketing needs,” she explained.
SushiVid facilitates the whole process to avoid YouTubers from spamming the brands, and vice versa, said Foong, adding that SushiVid takes a 15% cut of each successful transaction.
One challenge that SushiVid is already seeing is the propensity of some influencers to quote unrealistic prices.
“For example, if they’re going to charge RM5 per view for their video, then the brands might as well just use the money to boost their posts on Facebook,” Foong argued, saying that SushiVid is educating its users on this.
Meanwhile, the startup raised RM200,000 from an undisclosed angel investor in a pre-seed round last December.
Foong said she will only be looking to raise a seed round in the next 12 to 18 months as she would like to first focus on getting more brands and YouTubers on board. — Digital News Asia
* This story was first published here.