YouTube has established it’s name for the last 4 years as the place to post your videos. It didn’t matter what they were – as long as they were not of adult or copyrighted material. They’ve also seen some growing pains attached to pushing out home made content. The Baby dancing to a Prince song is a good example.
With Hulu coming on to the scene and the ever rising cost of bandwidth use, YouTube has realized they have to change their business plan to survive. However, it seems that their new business model might just create an adverse effect because it makes more work for the people pushing the content. So where is YouTubes’ Happy Medium?
You Tube came on to the scene in 2005. The idea was simple: upload your videos and let friends, family or anyone watch them. People could have a media scrapbook online or even create and publish their content. I saw local artists Aaron Yonda and Matt Sloan create and publish “Chad Vader – Day Shift Manager”. Not only did they get millions of downloads, YouTube found that they were getting revenue from this duo, therefore they would give them a cut. Google saw the potential and in 2006, purchased the company for 1.65 Billion.
However, this is starting to become a 300 lb Gorilla about to get free. YouTube is finding it harder to keep the site afloat – more videos means more bandwidth. Advertising covers some cost, but not the whole thing. Investors want to see returns. Therefore, YouTube has decided to make changes.
One change they made was to not allow people to create advertising in their videos. For instance: The Geekazine Quickcast has a sponsor of GotoAssist. If I was to record the show for YouTube, I couldn’t say “Brought to you by Gotoassist.com”. They are also bringing more ads into the Videos to cover more cost. There is even talk about getting a “Smart engine” to figure out when there is a break so they can insert their own commercials.
These are all things that might make a person wonder why they are uploading to YouTube. After all – My Space is just a website away and they are not talking about doing any of that.
They look at companies like Hulu, who apparently is doing well. However, Hulu has a lot of big names behind them and has hashed out a plan to work on covering costs. They have only controlled content – Nothing user based is uploaded and shared.
So what CAN YouTube do to stay afloat. Well, I asked a few PR people just that question. Here is their responses:
Mark Goodman of SCORE Workshop group says:
Give YouTube search preference in Google. One view of a video ought to be worth 1000 views of a text document.
While I am not sure Google should do any type of favoritism, they could line the video on the right side. Then again, there is a whole category of “Videos” on the top bar. Mark does add that there is a lot of good YouTube videos that give great advice that can be applied to this video giant.
Roy Furr from Fresh Look says:
The best opportunity YouTube has is to create a system by which publishers can monetize content. Publishers set prices and YouTube charges hosting, delivery and processing fees as a percentage of gross.
Blip.tv allows you to choose advertisers. YouTube could easily set up a system like Adbrite or Commission Junction to allow up loaders to pick and choose their ads. Outside ads might have to go through an approval and that could take a ton of paperwork.
Meghan Pochebit of Off Central Public Relations says:
YouTube could segue into the world of Electronic Press Kits and even hosted email blasts with embedded video.
Electronic Press kits are an interesting idea. There have been some companies like Sonicbids – who specialize in musicians’ press kits. Then again, it could turn into a MySpace for YouTube. Email subscriptions is not a bad idea – you have some real estate to advertise.
Jackie Ann Patterson of Own Mountain Trading Company says:
Market private, secure channels to corporations. A multi-national corporation has all kinds of events that work well with distributed video, particularly now with the global recession. These events can range from CEO messages, to division all-hands meetings, technical trainings and team building interactions.
Therefore if you were a Microsoft employee, you would go to Microsoft.youtube.com/CEO for a ceo message. It would be right protected so no one else could get in. That is a great idea and although Microsoft wouldn’t probably do it, maybe the small company of 2-300 employees might.
Termeh Mazhari from AMP3 PR:
I think YouTube should feature full-length TV or film episodes that can be bought via iTunes. .39 cents for a 20 min TV episode, 89 cents for an hour with low and high quality. $1.49 for a full length film.
That is an interesting proposition. I could see people buying the box set of “Chad Vader”. I would also wonder if those prices would vary on the level of content…
Here are a couple things I have thought of for helping YouTube out:
Right now things like Annotations are a free service. They could easily make that into a pay service. They could also allow uploaders 1 video annotation a month, then if they want to do more, they’ll have to pay. Also, captioning and even translation services could be a premium fee. After all, a video in more than one language might be more profitable.
Give videos an expiration period – Why have a video of dad getting hit in the knockers from 2005? Been there, seen it, bought the book.
Let the user pick and choose the advertisers. Let them choose where to put it in the video.
Work with ISP’s for cached content. If a video is popular, then why not put it in a cached mode on another machine where people can watch from. That also brings the idea –
Finally, YouTube really needs to nail down the questionable content and the repeat content. 50 people that upload the exact same video might be a little redundant. Maybe have a Digg style upload feature that if it seems to be the same thing, it gets reviewed and possibly removed.
There are a lot more ideas. How do you think YouTube should change? Do you agree with their choice for no internal ads on the video?
In the meantime, YouTube is making drastic changes to get their content looking good and their service making money. Hopefully this won’t change how we look at YouTube.