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How El Dodo’s Facebook and YouTube strategy led to profitability in three years

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The Dodo is expanding its digital presence to reach its Spanish-speaking audience.

The channel, called El Dodo, originally launched in 2018 exclusively built on YouTube and Facebook as an experimental way to establish a revenue stream that would enable self-sustained growth, said YuJung Kim, president of The Dodo. From there, El Dodo would expand to other platforms and make original content.

For three years, El DoDo relied primarily on pre- and mid-roll ads on Facebook and YouTube to achieve this profitability, Kim said, without providing exact growth figures. The annual growth rate for this business is 119% year over year, according to the company, which did not provide CPM rates.

“For the advertising business, scale is king. So we knew that we had to have some kind of stopgap measure before building a scale to be able to attract advertising partners [to the] El Dodo channel,” Kim said.

In June, El Dodo claimed it earned 800 million views between Facebook and YouTube, citing internal figures. According to Tubular Labs, however, El Dodo garnered 188 million views on Facebook and 37 million on YouTube for a total of about 225 million views that month.

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That month, Tubular Labs also ranked The Dodo as the 20th most viewed creator in the world across all social media platforms, aside from Instagram, which the data analyst no longer analyzes.

All of El Dodo’s content is originally from The Dodo with written translations and captions of the audio interviews. All of the Spanish translations are written in a conversational tone by El Dodo editors in keeping with other coverage areas, according to Nicole Hendrickson, vp of social at The Dodo.

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While the translation strategy works well for a media company that does not have the resources to build an entire bureau in another country — which has not always been the most successful strategy for other digital publishers, like BuzzFeed — there are cultural nuances that get looked over by redubbing the content that was initially created for a different audience, said Nick Cicero, vp of strategy at streaming and social intelligence company Conviva.

The Dodo has also recorded some interviews in Spanish as well as in English. El Dodo also collaborates with Spanish-speaking followers and influencers to tell their stories on Facebook Stories or in the community pages.

In the fall, however, El Dodo will release its first Spanish series as an extension of its English-language series called “Faith Restored.” It will be distributed on Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok and will cover animal rescues, a topic that Hendrickson said gets a lot of views from the target audience already.

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El Dodo has a five-person team that started with a platform manager and later added a community manager and three video editors and producers. While the plan is to continue growing the team, Kim said that El Dodo’s staff will remain based in the U.S. and will work on cultivating partnerships in other countries in Central and South America with shelters and content creators. As Kim’s team grows, it will train colleagues on content that resonates.

El Dodo is starting to experiment on new platforms as well, including TikTok where it currently has under 1,000 followers, with a goal of reaching an audience like The Dodo’s 1.4 million followers. Content on both channels is personality and character-driven, crucial for platform growth, said Cicero.

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What’s even more crucial for growing a new foreign language brand on TikTok and other social media platforms is having on-screen talent and behind-the-camera creators who understand the audience that they’re making this content for, Cicero added.

The focus for the next growth phase will remain on digital video and content production, but Kim said she expects the other revenue lines that The Dodo has honed over the past seven years — book licensing, OTT extensions, events, and even a pet insurance licensing deal — will eventually be applied to El Dodo in due time as well.  Kim did not say how much money these individual revenue channels brought in. 

“El Dodo is The Dodo, just a year or two behind,” said Kim.

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Facebook-Meta Earns the ‘Worst Company of 2021’ Title in This Survey

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Facebook has had its share of controversies this year. The company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents.

Facebook parent Meta has been named the Worst Company of the Year (2021) by Yahoo Finance respondents. According to the publication, an “open-ended” survey was published on Yahoo Finance on December 4 and 5, where 1,541 respondents participated. Facebook received 8 percent of the write-in vote, but respondents were seemingly mad about the Robinhood trading app as well. Electric truck startup Nikola, which was named last year’s worst company by the same publication also faced respondents ire.

Yahoo Finance notes, “Facebook has had its share of controversies this year.” Starting in January, Meta-owned WhatsApp got caught up in a huge controversy after the messaging app announced a new privacy policy (Terms of Service). WhatsApp said it would collect user information and share it with third-party apps for a better user experience. However, the app gave users no choice but later made modifications to the policy under pressure. Similarly, the company was under more scrutiny after whistleblower and former Facebook employee Frances Haugen leaked a series of internal documents showing the company’s problematic practices. It was revealed that Meta-owned Instagram had a negative impact on teenage girls, but the company did almost nothing to rectify the problem.

Yahoo Finance even highlights, “At the same time, some critics, including conservatives, say Facebook over-policed the platform’s speech and stifled their voices.” Critics also blame Facebook and other social media platforms for not curbing hate speech that led to Capitol Building riots.

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However, around 30 percent of Yahoo Finance readers said that Facebook or Meta could redeem itself. One respondent suggested that the company could issue a formal apology for negligence and donate a sizable amount of its profits to a foundation to help reverse its harm.

On the other hand, respondents chose Microsoft as the Company of the Year (2021). The Satya Nadella-led company touched the trillion-mark this year and introduced notable upgrades. The most notable is the Windows 11 OS update that succeeds Windows 10.

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Facebook pays 1.7 Cr fine to Russia after failing to delete content Moscow deems illegal

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In the latest legal tussle with Russia over controversial social media regulation laws, Facebook paid 17 million roubles (Rs 1.7 Crore) for failing to remove content deemed illegal by Moscow. With a threat of potential larger fines looming, Facebook parent company Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, is scheduled to face court next week over repeated violations of Russian legislation on content, Interfax News Agency reported. As per the latest updates, the social media giant could be fined a percentage of its annual revenue.

In October, Moscow sent state bailiffs to enforce the collection of 17 million roubles. Meanwhile, as per Interfax report citing a federal bailiffs’ database, on Sunday, there were more enforcement proceedings against the company. Apart from the popular social media app, Telegram has also paid 15 million roubles in fines for failing to comply with the Russian social media legislations that came into force in 2016.

Facebook pays $53k to Russia for refusing controversial social media laws

It is pertinent to mention that Facebook has locked horns with Moscow earlier in November, resulting in it paying 4 million roubles ($53,000) over its refusal to adhere to Russian data localisation laws, the Moscow Times reported. The Moscow court on November 25 had said that Facebook paid the fine levied in February, following which all proceedings against the US-based social media giant. The payment comes against the litigation filed against the company in 2018, alongside Twitter. The tech companies were also forced to pay an additional 3000 rubles ($40) for failing to comply with user data sharing rules as per the law. The Russian authorities have also previously blocked LinkedIn, owned by Microsoft, for failing to abide by the laws.

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Russian social media laws

As per Moscow Times, under the Russian social media regulation laws, all foreign technology companies are required to store data related to Russian customers and users on servers located in Russia. Additionally, the Russian tech companies will also have to share encryption data with the federal authorities as well as record user calls, messages and civil society group conversation records. The apparatus is said to be a severe breach of privacy rights and unfettered back-door access to personal data that could be used to harass Kremlin critics.

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

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Facebook Messenger Is Launching a Split Payments Feature for Users to Quickly Share Expenses

Meta has announced the arrival of a new Split Payments feature in Facebook Messenger. This feature, as the name suggests, will let you calculate and split expenses with others right from Facebook Messenger. This feature essentially looks to bring an easier method to share the cost of bills and expenses — for example, splitting a dinner bill with friends. Using this new Split Payment feature, Facebook Messenger users will be able to split bills evenly or modify the contribution for each individual, including their own.

The company took to its blog post to announce the new Split Payment feature in Facebook Messenger. 9to5Mac reports that this new bill splitting feature is still in beta and will be exclusive to US users at first. The rollout will begin early next week. As mentioned, it will help users share the cost of bills, expenses, and payments. This feature is especially useful for those who share an apartment and need to split the monthly rent and other expenses with their mates. It could also come handy at a group dinner with many people.

With Split Payments, users can add the number of people the expense needs to be divided with and, by default, the amount entered will be divided in equal parts. A user can also modify each person’s contribution including their own. To use Split Payments, click the Get Started button in a group chat or the Payments Hub in Messenger. Users can modify the contribution in the Split Payments option and send a notification to all the users who need to make payments. After entering a personalised message and confirming your Facebook Pay details, the request will be sent and viewable in the group chat thread.

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Once someone has made the payment, you can mark their transaction as ‘completed’. The Split Payment feature will automatically take into account your share as well and calculate the amount owed accordingly.


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Tasneem Akolawala is a Senior Reporter for Gadgets 360. Her reporting expertise encompasses smartphones, wearables, apps, social media, and the overall tech industry. She reports out of Mumbai, and also writes about the ups and downs in the Indian telecom sector. Tasneem can be reached on Twitter at @MuteRiot, and leads, tips, and releases can be sent to tasneema@ndtv.com.

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