Internetainer // VR/AR/Digital Media Enthusiast // Wine Aficionado // Cat Lover

Mar 12th,


YouTube Video Rental Program – Friend or Foe?

I just received my invitation to join YouTube’s Video Rental program, which allows content creators to offer videos to users at various price points (from .99 on up). Another step forward in the ongoing experiment to make web video profitable, and yet…

As a YouTube consumer myself, I can’t say that I could ever see myself leaping to pay to view a video. It seems YouTube was built on the premise of free, and people are now accustomed to that. That said, I could see this program being successful in the future (at least, I REALLY WANT it to be successful.)

For those who decide to experiment with the program, here are the types of videos I would think would be the most successful to sell:

1. Niche Information – On a site like YouTube, you could reach a larger niche audience and offer a much lower premium on your informational content. I LOVE how-to books, so I don’t see a reason why this couldn’t work on the YouTube Rental space as well. For people who want to be bloggers, for example, they could either buy a blogging e-book for $10 or rent a $0.99 DVD.

2. Exclusivity – celebrities and web celebrities with major platforms could use the YouTube rental service to offer fans exclusive content. For example, Lady Gaga offering an inside look into her recording studio. Taylor Swift taking you backstage before a concert. YouTube celeb Phil DeFranco offering his fans a “Day In the Life” video. For people who are die-hard fans, $0.99 for an exclusive peak into their idols’ lives isn’t that bad of a deal…

3. Porn – well, maybe not porn. But ‘racier’ content could find a home in the YouTube Video Rental program. People are more willing to pay to watch premium content, so it makes sense that an “R” rated version of a video be released under the payment caveat. Wonder what would have happened to ‘Wrong Hole’ if it had been offered as a premium? It probably wouldn’t have become a viral hit, but I guarantee that more than a few people would have paid….if not just out of curiosity alone.

Have any of you experimented with the YouTube Video Rental program or know anyone who has? If not, do you think it could work, and if so, how can creators integrate it into their web series/web video strategy?