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You Tube: Community vs. Monetary Rewards in Video Sharing

Jeff Jarvis recently reported on Chad Hurley's remarks at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Chad is the CEO of You Tube, now owned by Google. Here is the video that Jeff shot of Chad's remarks, cleverly titled "Chad Hurley on You Tube...On You Tube".

New Tee Vee then added a couple of great tidbits. First, by transcribing Chad's words for those that prefer text:

In terms of paying users revenue against the content that they’re uploading, we’re definitely going to move in that direction, but we didn’t want to build a system that was motivated by monetary reward, we wanted to build a true community around video. When you start out with giving money to people from day 1, they’ll just switch to the next provider…that’s paying more. So we feel that we’re at a scale now that we’ll be able to do that and really be able to have a true community around video.

I really appreciate his focus on community and they have done an great job so far, but I think You Tube's future is much more based on being a video-ad host than a video community. You Tube will continue to be the biggest and most prolific video sharing community, but its size causes dilution. In the future people will use You Tube as a host and then take their video embed code to other sites, blogs, video sharing groups to participate in more focused, personal and niche driven communities on the web.

Fictitious example statement: "No one on You Tube wants to see my China documentary - but my friends over at are going nuts over it."

The question is if these niche communities will drive enough views to warrant the ads in the videos. Here's one way the money will flow in the future:

  1. A person will create a video.
  2. They will have their choice of hosts: Revver, Brightcove, YouTube, My Space, Metacafe, etc.
  3. Hosts may ask this person, as they upload their video: Do you want to make money by placing an ad in this video? More views = more $.
  4. The person will say 'yes' and once the video is uploaded, the site will spit out the embed code for the video, including the ad.
  5. The person will understand that the code enables them to share that video wherever they want.
  6. The big question is: where will this video (with ads) get viewed the most?

Given the choice, do you think video creators are going to just leave their video on You Tube, or are they going to find communities that truly appreciate their work (and drive views)? You Tube has the member volume to financially reward the video creators that produce the type of content the You Tube community values. However, it is only one community and many will be turned off of You Tube simply because it is so big.

My bet is that we're going to see an amazing growth of video sharing communities that don't actually host any video at all. They simply enable people to paste in their embed code from any one of these hosts.

The big questions for video creators who want to make ad money will be:

  1. Which host pays more, has the best ads, the best relationships, best players, etc.
  2. Where can I share my video (via embed code) to maximize the number of views?

Have you seen Flixya? They don't host any videos, but have an ad revenue sharing program. Oh, and the site is based on Drupal.

Oh, one last thing from New Tee Vee:

In related news, Andy Plesser at Beet.TV got a look at a new Forrester report that says 7 percent of consumers in North America who use the web regularly are uploading videos at least once a month.