Can YouTube make revenue sharing work?

Should YouTubers bank on Google?
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor
In the recent Chad Hurley induced euphoria over power to the people, monetary power to the “little” video people that is, many celebrated a seemingly greater democratization of Web 2.0. 

As in all democracies, however, the Web 2.0 variety has a messy underbelly of conflicting motivations and inherent obstacles. 

Hurley touts Google’s YouTube aims to “reward creativity,” eventually. 

The YouTuber “creativity,” however, that is credited with catapulting YouTube to “broadcast yourself” video clip-culture fame was a “creative” pirating of NBC copyright and owned video content uploaded without authorization, SNL’s “Lazy Sunday.” 

Unauthorized uploads of television network, movie studio and “the (music) labels” content continue to be major draws for the viral video sharing that drives YouTube’s massive usage.

As I pointed out last week in “in “Google’s YouTube: Who are the broadcasters?" the YouTube “community” broadcast yourself slogan is at odds with Google’s plan to make big money off of professional broadcasters’ content.

Google now rotates two logos at YouTube: 1) the vintage YouTube “Broadcast Yourself” and 2) a new and corporate sponsored unadorned “YouTube.”

YouTube, both pre and post Google, has profited off of “old media” content, but has not been willing to compensate the oldies but goodies for the content they spent dearly to produce.

The titans of “old media” are well aware of the value of their content, especially in juxtaposition to YouTuber “clip culture” videos.

At a Davos World Economic Forum panel addressing “the end of (traditional media companies’) business models,” Michael Wolf, President, MTV Networks, underscored:

We’ve seen that our content has remained very popular and that the majority of page views on social networking sites are for professionally produced content.

YouTube co-founder Steve Chen was quick to “add from the floor,” however:

If you charge people for viewing content, they will now simply switch to the next provider.

Ogilvy & Mather Chairman, Shelly Lazarus, is reported to have been “upbeat,” offering:

Internet advertising creates a potential for companies to replace revenues lost from providing free content.

Yes, but traditional media content at YouTube is not provided free-of-charge in exchange for advertising revenues.

The Google value proposition to professional content owners is a “belief” that YouTube brings a “significant new audience of viewers” to traditional media (see “Google’s fuzzy YouTube logic”).

What will be the value proposition to YouTubers?

The YouTube “broadcast yourself” fare is not an easy, or lucrative, advertising sell (see “YouTube vs. MySpace: Is friendly bankable?”). Moreover, typical YouTuber fare is of the “friends and family” variety, garnering minimal views.

The wild successes of “Lonely Girl 15” and “Diet Coke & Mentos” reflect calculated, and professionally produced, video shows, not fabled serendipitous, viral video phenomenona.

The percentage of YouTubers uploading videos is in the very low single digits. Among that small pecentagte that do upload videos, the percentage of videos uploaded of a high quality, non-pirated nature is also udoubtedly very low.

YouTubers may continue to broadcast themselves, but they ought not bank on Google’s YouTube “rewarding” them handsomely for their "creativity."

ALSO: Will YouTube ‘King Hurley’ really share video riches? and
Is YouTube really a $1.65 billion Web 2.0 success? and
Who needs YouTube? Bolt, NBBC, Network2 on stage in NYC

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