In January I remember YouTube offering a service that let content producers charge a fee to people to view the content. I was pretty interested and applied. I have been a YouTube revenue partner since the programs inception and that has turned out to be “OK” source of revenue. OK meaning its made about 10X more then Revver or any similar revenue sharing video hosting platform. I have revenue sharing enabled on less than 10% of my videos on YouTube.
Last week I got an email that I had been accepted into the YouTube Rental program. I was pretty pumped. This opens a lot of possibilities.
I got right on it testing….. and people who were subscribed to my YouTube channel got to watch over my shoulder as I kept uploading test videos.
Uploading your content
Once you are accepted you just pick out what movie you want to “rent” and upload it like any other video. You will see a new option open up in the revenue sharing tab to rent your video like this:
As you can see there are drop down boxes to choose the price of your movie and also the duration the user gets to view the content.
Price points start at 99 cents and go all the way to 99 dollars.
Duration starts at 1 day and goes all the way to unlimited. Meaning you can charge a one time fee and the person would have permanent access to the content.
Then (as with all revenue sharing videos) you have to check off that you are not infringing on anyone’s content and write a brief description as to exactly what the content is:
Once the content is uploaded it will be placed into “private” mode (so nobody can view it) until approved by YouTube.
Testing 1 2 3…
While I have seen a lot of places write about the program I have yet to see anyone post who has actually used it… so I thought I would try this live. I created a video explaining the 2 missing features in the new Apple iOS4 that Steve Jobs did not mention in his keynote at WWDC. I decided I would charge 99 cents and I set the duration for 1 day.
I then made a trailer for the video… actually I made a couple… but the one I settled on is here:
Its interesting it doesn’t show you anything about the rental stuff when you embed it…. I guess you are supposed to send people to YouTube. When you watch it on YouTube you have a click to rent button in the video itself and also just below it near the description:
Also it should be noted that people outside the USA will not get the option to purchase the video. (as of the time of me writing this post).
You specify which YouTube video should be the trailer by putting in its ID or pasting the full URL in the details of the one that you have for rent:
Here is the link to my actual video you can pay to “rent” (dont actually do it… unless you really want to know the 2 things that will blow your mind and change your life forever. Guarenteed)
Why I like it:
Obviously this makes it very simple to monetize your videos. We could take certain video’s out of the ShoeMoney System and put them up for rent… We could charge to see some of my presentations from conferences where people had to pay thousands to see… We could charge for some how-to training videos…. the list goes on and on.
The problems I see with it:
Google’s stranglehold on the whole system is a big problem I think for most publishers. You can only be paid through your Google Checkout merchant account… which is not a easy thing to setup. Also you can only rent movies if you have a Google Checkout account.
When you click to purchase or “rent” the video you get this screen:
Then when you have to “Complete Account Setup” you are taken to this page, which is basically wanting your credit card info so you can 1 click purchase youtube or other Google stuff in the future:
So in order to be able to purchase a video you have to have both a YouTube account and a Google Checkout account. I dunno about you but I have not had the best luck with Google Checkout. It was a huge problem when I had my Android phone and tried to purchase applications. But I am sure they will get that figured out.
The Big Picture:
Youtube since late 2007 has been the 2nd largest search engine in the world. Behind Google.com but ahead of Yahoo and MSN.
Its pretty cool to see your rental video pop up when someone searches for iOS 4 features or iphone4 features:
But lets be honest. Your general tire kicker YouTube user is about as monetizeable as a Digg user and odds are they are going to purchase anything by searching is nill.
While I feel that the Google payment system is a large barrier to entry (can’t you just take paypal, no of course not) I think this *could* become huge.