I recently ran into someone who’s interviewing for some marketing-type position at Google/YouTube in a few weeks. One question, I would love to ask the execs there is how are the brilliant minds (at Google/YouTube) planning to monetize the hugely popular site? I am not too envious of anyone who is stuck with the ultimate responsibility for monetizing this site. I mean, think about it – how easy is it to make people pay for something they’re used to getting for free?
YouTube has debuted YouTube Insight, a suite of analytic tools that provide audience trends on videos that publishers have uploaded. YouTube already offers comments, ratings and a ranking for each clip. Insight adds context to where viewers come from and when they watched a given video.
I think this is a great way to boost retention/loyalty of its video publishing community. It also gives the search giant, the demographic insights needed to provide more targeted advertising. Some revenue-sharing type model perhaps may also be in the works?
Tracy Chan, Product Manager for YouTube Insight suggested that YouTube could be used for testing of movie trailers by studios and it is already being used by music bands to plan future performances,
Chan described how a Hollywood studio marketing a movie to YouTube viewers might put up several trailers designed to appeal to different users….He described how bands testing the new service have discovered pockets of their fans they didn’t know existed and have begun planning future music tours based on this data.
The major flaw with this plan, however well-intentioned, is the assumption that the YouTube (free-loader) demographic is typical of the movie-going (paying) audience and the results from any test on the YouTube audience is a good behavioral indicator of the offline movie-going audience.
That being said, the analytics tool is definitely step in the right direction. But I can’t help but wonder what on earth took them so long? Especially given that they could have easily leveraged Google Analytics backbone for this, couldn’t they?!
PS: Here’s a NY Times article rationalizing why companies ‘acquire’ innovation and why the acquisition still makes sense even if these companies are unable to monetize or gain any synergies from their acquisition.