YouTube took a step towards monetization by allowing partners to charge users for downloads. In this “test” initiative, selected YouTube partners can offer their video downloads for free or for a fee (determined by the partner) paid through Google Checkout. Most videos in the test are currently charging about $1 each. The partner can also decide how the downloadable video will be licensed to the user – whether it will be restricted to a private non-commercial use video, or whether it can be used under Creative Commons.
YouTube’s university partners, which include Stanford, Duke and UC Berkeley, are also testing free downloads of lectures and events. And a small group of YouTube partners (YouTube mentioned partners khanacademy, householdhacker and pogobat in their blog post) are using the test offer as a revenue generation and distribution tool. This initiative would also allow users to access videos offline.
YouTube is a innovative product but very expensive and not profitable. Everyone knows that Google has been looking for ways to make money from YouTube, especially in a struggling economy, and it looks like as thought they are flirting with this option as a revenue generator. Google has rolled out several ways to generate revenue, including through YouTubevertorials, selling search results, and ad revenues from big content partners. Google hasn’t indicated how much YouTube would be making from this partnership but we assume that they are hoping to make some cut from this down the line. YouTube is soliciting applications from partners to collaborate on the pilot partnership, but it is restricted to US-based partners only.
Will this work? We have a huge amount of traffic to our YouTube download tool so that may be an indication that this new venture could work out to Google’s advantage.