YouTube is offering to give a cut of advertising revenue to its top video producers. It didn't take long for worries about whether YouTube's pay scheme will split the community.
So basically what YouTube are saying is, go away and work hard to create great content AND build an audience to win the grand prize which is an ad-revenue deal with us. Sounds a lot like a record company to me where bands slog it out for years, usually at a loss, hoping to appear on the industry's radar.
Is that really so bad? On the Web folks talk about community like it's some utopia. In every community--offline and online--there are winners and losers. Some folks perform better than others. Some become stars. Some don't.
Meanwhile, YouTube's emerging model may not lend itself to this automated community utopia.
Steve reckons that the primary reason YouTube is focusing on people with an established audience is because the revenue share goes beyond just text links. He perceptively calls it "old media style sales."
Carrying that thought further YouTube is basically a cable network--it's a platform to distribute video. It's top video producers should get the ad share because they are becoming content studios. Think of LisaNova as the next Warner Bros. television studio. Why should some person posting a home video of his kid be entitled to an ad share?
YouTube is a network plain and simple. Some shows bomb. Some hit it big. Some folks are relegated to public access or worse.
But before we get all nutty about the community implications remember this--YouTube is still democratizing video. It's not like YouTube members like LisaNova, HappySlip and smosh had much of a chance getting their content on television before.
It's quite possible that YouTube's pay scheme will inspire others--not discourage them--to produce better content to grab an advertising brass ring. Think of an American Idol model that's ongoing and covers Web video. The cream will rise to the top--and that can only benefit YouTube.
"Whichever way you look at it, this is a good development for content creators who are looking to turn a labor of love into a full time gig."
Dan Farber: YouTube sharing revenue with select contributors.
Mashable: YouTube Users Get Paid. Tomorrow.