Own your video – YouTube doesn’t pay

February 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Media, Online, Videos

On a Lost Remote post that gave a not-so-rosy outlook for the future of online video, Steve Safran commented that, rather than there simply being no money in online video, “There is no money in giving away your video and hoping someone else will sell it and make you rich”.

The example suggesting there was little money in online video mentioned Perez Hilton from TMZ, who claims to have only made $5,000 from 25 million video views on YouTube. Safran says Perez could realistically be making $500,000 a month.

Of course Perez isn’t making money off video. He’s hosting it on YouTube. That’s a free service. He doesn’t have control over pre-roll tied with banner ads or any of the tracking that’s required to make advertisers want your product. He’s paying nothing for video hosting, so naturally he’s getting next to nothing in return.

Even at a modest $20 CPM (and this should be $30 – $40), he could be bringing in $500,000 a month in preroll ads. He’s missing out on $6 million in inventory.

Safran is adamant that just because you can’t make much money off YouTube doesn’t mean there is no money to be had in online video.

via Lost Remote TV Blog

So what is it about owning your brand that brings in the advertisers? Safran points out that Perez may not be making as much money as he could because of ownership rights to those videos. When online newspapers do video, the ‘wire’ videos from Reuters and Sky News (in Australia) are generic news items. Often they’re not local, or locally owned.

If you don’t get a lot of views, perhaps its because people are aware they could get that news and video at any other site, since you’ll often see the same ‘wire’ video across competing sites, as you would agency stories across print.

So what will a viewing public repeatedly come back looking for? Trusted local content delivery. By trusted, I mean people are aware that the video they want to see can be found with your media organisation so they will eventually, unprompted, return repeatedly to see what’s new.

In the case of TMZ, this is guaranteed celebrity video, pictures and humiliation that will be regularly updated, and that either can’t be seen anywhere else, or is just easier to find on TMZ because you know it will be there. You can ‘trust’ there will be something there to see.

In the case of local news sites, the only video of interest to your loyal readers or viewers that you can guarantee to always have is – local video. And if you do it well, they keep coming back, just to see if you’ve got the video they trust you’ll have. As local content, you absolutely won’t get the 25 million video views that celebrity clips will get on YouTube, but if you’re getting a large chunk of the local population, that translates into excellent advertising dollars locally.

So I remain a believer in the potential of locally produced online news video, and the market for it. Corey Bergman makes a good point in the post in question, consumers are going to begin demanding more accessible content.

Just vaguely thinking about doing online and mobile content delivery won’t cut it. Our news sites need to be aggressive in developing their own multi-platform content-delivery solutions so that, again, by making themselves the reliable point of content consumption they capture the new market, rather than try to catch up with it.


8 Responses to “Own your video – YouTube doesn’t pay”
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  6. twitter.com says:

    Do you have any video of that? I’d want to find out some additional information.

  7. Dave says:

    YouTube is to video as Google is to search, it’s synonymous, which is probably why Google acquired them!

    I think you can almost guarantee Google will find a way to monetise YouTube, but in the meantime? Using your free YouTube views is definitely a good way to get people to your site. Perhaps even better is using them to promote paid content only available from your site, by a direct plug at the end of your videos to your site.

    eg: “For more videos, visit maninthemaking.com”

    Whatever advertising arrangements you have on your site will then benefit from those extra hits. If ALL your videos are on YouTube, people may expect something extra by going to your site, and you may build a clientele by providing something extra for regular, or registered, visitors.

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  8. Will says:

    Great article. I’ve been looking for days for something that discusses this as I am producing my own original video content and hesitant to put it on youtube, what do I get in return?

    The three top players are youtube, metacafe and revver. With youtube you get the marketing to your site, like perez hilton, with metacafe you get paid for the amount of views, and revver shares the ad profit with you from your video.

    So Metacafe and revver actually reward their “directors” for submitting this content they worked hard on, and you can see Metacafe starting to beat youtube (maybe why youtube is working fast on a way for their users to generate income from their videos)

    I predict that if Metacafe had more visitors than youtube, a vast majority of people would definately post their content there instead of youtube. The only advantage to youtube right now is their popularity and I feel I’m going to have to put my content there just for the marketing value to my site.

    Thanks for the great article again.

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