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 url to my actual trailer video

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 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.

By Jeremy Schoemaker

Jeremy "ShoeMoney" Schoemaker is the founder & CEO of ShoeMoney Media Group, and to date has sold 6 companies and done over 10 million in affiliate revenue. In 2013 Jeremy released his #1 International Best selling Autobiography titled "Nothing's Changed But My Change" - The ShoeMoney Story. You can read more about Jeremy on his wikipedia page here.

46 thoughts on “Cashing In With YouTube Rental Service”
  1. I agree that this **COULD** be huge. One area where this might take off is for people who are trying to monetize their video content but having issues setting up a membership site. This might be a nifty solution for that. Not everyone will want to pay for software and go through the admin hassle of setting up a membership site, but assuming YouTube rental is eventually opened to the masses, just about anyone can set up an account there.
    Thanks for the lengthy post detailing this service!

    1. You know… This is interesting. Check out the YouTube link describing the Beta program. They really did a good job of describing the program and outlining the benefits using words that would appeal to a marketer. Very cool!

      * MIX IT UP: Make some content available via the ad model or make some free for promo purposes, for maximum control over monetization, marketing, and distribution strategies.

      * TESTING: Experiment with the different prices, availability windows, and rental durations to OPTIMIZE the offering

      * TRACKING: Grow your audience, learn what they like, and tailor your content by tracking view trends.

  2. It is definately interesting but there are, as you point out, many issues with this before its ready to really use.

    Do YouTube inform you about how large a percentage of the sales price they keep? This is, to me, a key concern. Because, lets face it, setting up a paid video service on your own for you own stuff is not that difficult today (and you can still promote it using YouTube :))

    Being in Europe I hope YouTube start thinking a bit more global on things like this …

    1. You have the point Mikkel. This issue also make me think. Anyway thanks to Jeremy for sharing his experiance.

  3. Wow, this is extremely useful to know. I haven’t done any videos personally, but this is information that will be useful to many bloggers. Thanks for trying it out and sharing your experience.

  4. This will open a lot of opportunities for people that create video trainings. You really got me thinking with this post. Having a platform like YouTube behind your back will really help information marketers get it going. Your testing in inspiring thanks for the good work!

    Best Wishesh for Bulgaria,

  5. This will open a lot of opportunities for people that create video trainings. You really got me thinking with this post. Having a platform like YouTube behind your back will really help information marketers get it going. Your testing in inspiring thanks for the good work!

    Best Wishesh from Bulgaria,

    (sorry for the double posting)

  6. How are they going to take care of people that charge $1.99 for $0.01 worth of video?

    I can see a lot of scams going on.

  7. Never heard of this one as well. But I think it won’t work for most of users. Reasons? Right now if you are doing right, Youtube could bring much traffic to your site by leaving your link on the video, setting up channels, limit the video length and suggest viewers go to the website for full content. Therefore, I don’t think people will sacrifice small amount of money for bigger advantage, traffic! There’re a lot of other disadvantages like competitors, payment gateway, etc…

  8. Great idea, no doubt. But unfortunately anything Google does ends up being twice as hard as it should be and provides half the value it could.

    Must be the bully in the sandbox syndrome….

  9. Super thorough, descriptive post. There is nothing better than screenshots and videos to illustrate a point. Great stuff – Thanks a ton!

  10. Very awesome! I can see how this could become an easy way to upsell videos, etc.

    Cool stuff.

  11. A big thumbs down for the Google checkout. That’s enough to keep me away. And yeah…. Paypal would be nice, wouldn’t it?

  12. Hey – I like your suggestion of putting portions of the Shoemoney System up and renting them. I have been hesitating on the purchase because I just don’t want to spend. So I’ll be a customer if and when those videos are up!

  13. Wow. I am thinking back to the conversations about people trying to monetize YouTube in terms of product placement, building links, and generating traffic. This brings a whole new side to the process. Will be interesting to watch. Super post!

  14. My mind is really racing with this post. Does anyone have any other ideas on plans they might have to try and leverage this? How could this be leveraged if you’re just building your brand? Do you think it would be worth the time and investment in the early stages of promoting your site or brand?

  15. You know, this is super sweet because there are now so many options for free and easy video creation. I really think that this opens up a lot of possibilities for a lot of different people. In fact, if you’re good enough at creating videos and providing something that people would want to purchase, I think that this could produce some really relevant material. I agree – it *COULD* be huge!

  16. So what if the video was total crap? If I purchased, even for $1, I would expect to get something half way decent. I wonder if this would result in a lot of quality issues?

  17. Very nice. I could see people making a lot of money from this, although I can also see a lot of people being scammed at the same time; looks solid though.

  18. Shoe, this is awesome! Thanks for the heads up. I wanted to check this out right away but since i am traveling, ill bookmark it for now! cheers ๐Ÿ˜‰

  19. So getting around YouTube’s approval process could prove to be quite entertaining. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. I have done a minimal amount of video marketing. Apart from the obvious – including video for promotional and educational reasons on my blogs and sites, I haven’t experimented much. I appreciate the time you took in including the link from the previous post “Making Money with the YouTube” partner program. THis type of marketing is out of my league at the moment, but I think it presents incredible opportunities for others. Thanks for the thorough explanation. I will live through you as you rake in your YouTube millions!

  21. I think that in conjunction with the partner program, this just provides even more opportunity for creativity. Giddyup!

  22. Making money as a result of search? I agree with you. Probably not. But as an option for monetizing training videos, conferences, etc…. ABSOLUTELY! Brilliant post!

  23. I can’t even imagine handling all of that content in terms of copyrights. That was the original stink with the partner program, from what I recall.

  24. You could really try and run with that just for the search results. Sounds like fun. LOL!

  25. Google Checkout Merchant Account as the only option to be paid? Good luck with that! That would be a —->FAIL<—- for me!

  26. A very interesting post that makes one wonder what will happen next.

  27. I’m not surprised YouTube is doing this, but it still doesn’t seem like the right platform for it. It will definitely be interesting to see what percentage of the profits they keep.

  28. I haven’t seen that many “rental” videos on YouTube yet. I’m sure this will only work for specific markets. Great post and information on it Shoe. Thanks!

  29. You Know, it’s a great idea.. But if they did it better, it would be more successful.. Most people don’t love giving out there credit cards, and would rather use paypal (something I’ve been dying to see g checkout do).

    Plus you gotta be 18 to use G checkout (I believe) so there goes that plan for your teen market.

  30. i agree that the most of the you tube surfers won’t be pulling out their plastic, at least not with the current model……

    as i’m sure you’ve already advised them, google’s hubris in insisting on THEIR payment option is (another)self inflicted wound in the wallet.

  31. I’ve had problems with Google Checkout as well. As a consumer, it wasn’t a problem because I could just use my Google account for it. But the merchant side of things caused headaches.

    We tried setting up an affiliate program for a merchant who only accepted Google Checkout. Even though Direct Track was listed on the Google Checkout site as a whitelisted tracking software with Google Checkout, we never could get it to work, and ultimately got Google to tell us that the software companies listed there ‘could’ work, but whether they did or not was up to the respective companies. And Direct Track at the time had not done the work.

    So we tried setting it up with an in-house tracking system. We spent way too much time working on it, only to give up in frustration. To this day, that merchant has not set up an affiliate program.

    So I agree that this would be better if people had options to use Google Checkout something else, like PayPal.

  32. If you could rent a simple movie without filling out the equivalent of a US Census form at checkout they might have something!!

  33. Wow…so you can rent videos on Youtube. I’ve never seen this pop up and I’m on Youtube everyday. Interesting. Hey Iรขโ‚ฌโ„ขm having a contest on my blog you have the chance to win a Microsoft Zune, $50 Amazon Gift Card, or a $25 Amazon Gift Card check it out:

  34. interesting concept. Alas I cam upon this 2 years too late. Do you know if youtube is still allowing this program?
    (I checked your video link, shows as private and not viewable)

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