Monday, January 29, 2007

YouTubers Getting Paid, and a New Monetization Strategy

A little while ago, I wrote about some of the challenges of monetizing video. Undeniably, user generated online video (UGOV) is very popular and there's a lot of discussion about the legality, trademark issues, freedom of speech issues and ownership issues. Yet despite the details of UGOV, it remains a dominant form of media.

After Google acquired YouTube, there's been a lot of speculation to maximize the profitability, market penetration, user interaction and usability of the site. I have no doubt that of any company that would acquire YouTube, Google would probably be one of the few companies that could retain the philosophy of user generated and user focused content.

One of the steps to bring the users into a tempting accountability is the plan to share the profits from YouTube with the Tubers (potatoes?) I mean YouTubers... MarketingVox shares an article that, as Chad Hurley, the co-founder of YouTube says would "reward creativity" as the BBC News reports.

The fact that they didn't have to share the profit with its users most likely added to its success, which is measured in tens of millions of users. Now that they're going to change the monetization and revenue sharing model, it's going to have to split the profits with the uploaders. While the sharing details arent available at the moment, they say that they'll start rolling out the plans in phases over the next few months.

The second thing of interest is that YouTube is planning to roll ads before videos. While the plan for the video ads is to make them as short as possible, around 3 seconds, the details havent exactly been worked out.

Now, I'm not the guy who stands on the corner with a sandwich board that says "the end is near". But there's something about the second plan that bothers me just a little. The appeal of YouTube is that it's truly a user generated community that sometimes gets intruded by overly zealous companies who dont quite get the benefit.

If the balance is short ads for a little payout, then that might be enough. However, I think that there's something happening with YouTube that is chipping away a little bit from it's user focus. I mentioned before that UGOV is a feature and not an industry or a business model in and of itself and I think we're seeing that unfold now.

1 comment:

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