Monday, February 16, 2009

YouTube Offers Paid Downloads But Who Will Pay?

youtube logoYouTube last week announced a new program that would allow users to offer their videos as downloads for a small fee paid through Google Checkout. The new service would let video creators share videos in the traditional fashion through the YouTube site or they could offer them as either free or paid downloadable content.

Video partners can set prices (so far there is no limit set on fees) and decide which license they want to attach to the downloaded video files. You can choose either non-commercial or various Creative Commons licenses (for more info on the types of licenses, take a look here).

One has to wonder however who would actually pay for YouTube videos?

While the content and quality of videos has increased greatly over the years most of the videos I view aren't good enough for me to want to pay for. Not to mention there are already a large number of third party applications that will grab content from YouTube at no cost.

The later part of that YouTube might be working on. Shortly after the YouTube announcement TechCrunch announced that YouTube killed their video download tool. Jason did say that every other download method he has tried worked fine so far, including a handful of other websites and popular Firefox extensions. So its possible TC was target, but its also possible Google and YouTube are working to block all off site access.

It's possible we could see a new niche video enthusiasts who want to upload original content. We could see film makers creating basement production and using the service to charge a small fee for downloads. However there are alternatives out there that currently offer paid per view opportunities. Sites like, Blip.TV and MetaCafe all offer revenues based on views or advertising. So you really have to wonder how YouTube and their pay-to-download service will fit in.

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