Thursday, January 15, 2009

Would Pre-Vetting All Video Help Google Make Money On YouTube?

Over the past few months, there has been a lot of talk about how Google are trying, and ultimately failing at this point, to make YouTube the revenue-getting machine its traffic indicates it could, and should, be.

A couple of days ago, it leaked that Google were going to be reversing a long-held conviction, and putting pre-roll and post-roll adverts on to the site - a move very likely to upset regular visitors.
Only For Approved Content

It was also reported that these adverts were only to appear on videos which have been approved by media companies and other partners. A move obviously prompted by the legal wrangle with Viacom currently playing out in court.

Approved content only accounts for about 4% of the total videos on YouTube, and for that, Google is expecting to make about $200 million in revenue this year. So the question now being asked is: Should Google up the rate of approved videos?
Pre-Vetting To Increase Revenue?

Mark Cuban asks that question on Blog Maverick, and puts a clear and well-thought out argument forward. Basically saying that the extra revenue generated would pay for the automatic and manual reviewing of video content on being uplaoded on to the site.

There is currently over 10 hours of content uploaded to the site every minute, so that would be quite a job for a data center to handle, but the extra revenue generated could indeed make it a viable option.

As Cuban says, Google is already doing this exact same process for the 4% of videos that do pass the copyright-free content owned tests already, so it’s not as though it would be a completely new system to set up and manage.
Video-Vetting Backlash

Purely for the business of revenue-generating, this would obviously work, but in the pursuit of profit, how much would Google be risking in terms of YouTube losing its status as the ultimate video destination, and one which isn’t subject to pre-vetting.

Back in March, Steve Chen, one of the original founders of YouTube, argued that video vetting would ruin the ease and immediacy that the site currently offers to people who want to upload video content to the Web.
Revenue Vs User Satisfaction

The Christian YouTube clone GodTube does use pre-vetting, and it means videos take a while to make it on to the site. I’m not too sure that YouTube veterans would take too kindly to a change such as this.

It means Google are in a position where it has to make a decision to risk annoying its many millions of users, but making extra revenue, or leaving things as they are, and making less. I’m guessing the former.

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