YouTube to Share Revenue with Creators

YouTube CEO Chad Hurley said today his company (now owned by Google) “is going to move in [the] direction” of rewarding video creators for their content, as part of a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos.

Attendee Jeff Jarvis taped the statements and posted them to his blog:

Revenue sharing is something an increasing number of YouTube competitors, such as Revver, Metacafe, and, have used to differentiate themselves from the front-runner.

Hurley explains that YouTube management decided against monetary incentives because they might have attracted the wrong kind of contributors. We haven’t really seen that play out on other sites — Revver et al seem to be relatively unpolluted by anti-community money-grubbers. Hurley:

In terms of paying users revenue against the content that they’re uploading, we’re definitely going to move in that direction, but we didn’t want to build a system that was motivated by monetary reward, we wanted to build a true community around video. When you start out with giving money to people from day 1, they’ll just switch to the next provider…that’s paying more. so we feel that we’re at a scale now that we’ll be able to do that and really be able to have a true community around video.

From our perspective, it seems like the near-total absence of ads on YouTube was an essential part of its success (there are other factors, of course). You do need ads in order to share ad revenue, so perhaps that’s why rewarding creators was a non-starter until now.

In related news, Andy Plesser at Beet.TV got a look at a new Forrester report that says 7 percent of consumers in North America who use the web regularly are uploading videos at least once a month.