28 Jan 2010

What Movie Rentals Could Mean for YouTube and You


YouTubeWhen YouTube announced last week that it would be offering five films from the Sundance Film Festival for $3.99 a pop, it wasn’t a big deal because people no longer had to make like Ari Gold and Vinny Chase from Entourage to view some of the best independent films upon their release.

Instead it’s a big deal because it could be the first step for the popular Google-owned video sharing site to eventually adopt mainstream fare into its already robust menu of wedding dancing and baby biting videos.
The biggest question surrounding YouTube for years, not unlike Twitter, is when will it stop being a bandwidth hog and start justifying the $1.65 billion price Google paid to acquire it three years ago?
There is only so much money that can be made from Google ads, so YouTube protruding into the rentals market could be significant.
According to The Huffington Post, analyst Douglas Anmuch projects YouTube to produce about $700 million in revenue this year, which would be a 55 percent increase from 2009 in large part because advertisers will be more willing to put ads next to professional content than amateur and potentially offensive material.
No doubt we’re still months away from YouTube becoming Netflix, if that ever indeed does happen; this is just a trial for certain.
It’s not going to be easy for YouTube to negotiate with major motion picture agencies, but this is another step in the paradigm shift in how we watch movies.
Why would anybody go to Blockbuster again when they could watch movies on demand on Netflix or YouTube?
Beyond the rental charge, I wonder what kind of monetary opportunities such a shift would mean for YouTube.
Could they get advertisers to sponsor the video page with a relevant ad that would be showing on the webpage during the viewing? That would certainly cost a pretty penny for sponsors.
For link builders, this could be most noteworthy because the popular “Related Videos” tab remains intact for the Sundance videos.
A company that offers video marketing services such as Vertical Measures could create a video with the aim to go viral and optimize it with keywords related to the major motion picture. If the general public agrees that the video is as entertaining as you think it is, its hits would likely explode.
Of course, this would not be as good as getting direct traffic to your actual site, but it could drum up buzz and at least a nice bit of traffic from the link to your site in the description of the video.
If YouTube becomes a giant in the movie rental industry as it could be poised to become in the coming years, you will definitely want to ride its coattails for your own benefit.