A day after the news that a crippled version of YouTube would be available to subscribers of Verizon Wireless' vCast service, it's emerged that the video sharing site Revver has cut a similar deal. As with the YouTube offering, it will be a limited version of the site with only a selection of clips being made available.
From Revver's official blog:
The folks at VCast are reviewing a wide range of videos in five categories: Cute Overdose!, Laughs, Animation, Editors’ Picks, and Viral Video Classics. We’re working closely with them to choose various types of videos depending on what’s the most popular among you, our members, and what we really love.
Whilst I was highly critical of the top-down editorial process inflicted on the YouTube/Verizon Wireless offering - along with the other restrictions inherent in a walled garden approach - it's perhaps less of an issue when applied to Revver. The site doesn't have the viral mind share of YouTube, nor the community features (such as user comments).
Interestingly, Revver has agreed to a period of cellphone exclusivity with Verizon lasting twelve months, which seems a little foolhardy considering that a lot could change over the next year in the world of online video.
Unlike YouTube, Revver traditionally offers video producers a share of any ad-revenue their work generates but the content on Verizon's vCast won't carry advertising. Instead, the users whose videos are selected for inclusion will be given a cut of the licensing fee paid by Verizon.
Every time a subscriber views a video on VCast, that view is logged. Revver is paid monthly for the content that Vcast shows on their network. We split that revenue with you, 50/50 based on how many views your video gets - no surprises there. You still retain full ownership of your content. At the end of the month, we’ll add the cash to your balance.
This is where I think things get interesting. The Verizon Wireless deals with YouTube and Revver make it evermore transparent that so called user-generated content is actually worth money - vCast subscribers are being asked to pay $15 per month. When access to YouTube videos were free and not living behind a walled garden, many video producers were happy to swap financial compensation for wider exposure. The arrangement with Verizon Wireless changes everything, and when compared to Revver's offering, YouTube looks like a far less good deal for content producers today than it did just a few days earlier.