How Independent YouTube Producers Will Make Money

At O’Reilly Radar, Tim O’Reilly picks up the thread Chad Hurley started at Davos: How will the independent content producers share in the money YouTube makes off their videos? Tim suggests an analogy where YouTube is a video distribution platform like the Internet as a whole is for blogs; ad models (such as AdSense for Content at the low end, FM at the high end) will emerge that share revenues back with the original content creators.

“Right now, even Google hasn’t figured out how to monetize YouTube. When they do, I’ll lay odds that they will provide self-service mechanisms that content producers can use to monetize their content, with some kind of revenue-sharing arrangement, just like Adsense for Content. And from there, I’ll lay odds that it will be the content providers themselves who lead the charge, just as they have done in blogging. Entrepreneurial content producers will find ways to extend whatever mechanisms are provided, and will invent new ones. And they’ll do it in-band using the service mechanisms provided by YouTube, and out-of-band by becoming celebrities monetized in other media. And there will be a rich ecology of players who grow up to help with that monetization (just like FM Publishing (in which I am, incidentally, an investor) in blogging). FM shows the right kind of collective action: build shared infrastructure for business services that exploit the opportunities that the new economy provides.”

With FM already working with content types other than blogs — UGC platforms like Digg, Metafilter and Newsvine and video sites like Ask A Ninja and Revision3′s Diggnation — maybe FM itself, rather than someone “just like FM,” will help this new indie-video economy along!

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