YouTube: APIs Aren’t White-Label Video

We just got off the phone with YouTube product manager, Jim Patterson, who provided more detail on the new APIs the company released today (see: YouTube Widgetizes).

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YouTube sees this as a way to boost traffic and the quality of its videos, said Patterson, mentioning direct imports from the new EA game Spore as a future source of high-quality videos. API users, in turn, get access to the huge YouTube audience, whether it’s by their users logging in using YouTube credentials or new viewers happening upon their videos when browsing the YouTube library.

Patterson told us the YouTube APIs are “not meant to be directly competitive” with white-label service offerings from companies like Fliqz, Brightcove, Twistage and others. “We wouldn’t consider this a white-label solution at all,” he said. “It’s very much a co-branded offering.”

While web sites will be able to customize the chrome of the player their videos show up on, all videos will continue to have the overlaid YouTube logo as a watermark.

“It’s also different from those other providers because, for one, it’s free,” added Patterson. But it’s undeniable that YouTube will take business away from these white-label companies, because people who want a simple, reliable, cheap solution and don’t care about their own branding now have the option.

Will web sites have the opportunity to monetize views of videos seen on their sites, or the videos they contribute to the YouTube library? “With this launch we’re not announcing or introducing any new ways of monetizing new videos on YouTube,” said Patterson. “Nothing’s changed with regards to their eligibility for existing programs.”

We asked for more details about how people will be able to upload directly from outside pages. Users can enter their YouTube or Google credentials without ever leaving a web site, said Patterson. New users can create an account online. Videos are uploaded directly to YouTube without waiting through the approval of the web site on which they’re uploaded. On YouTube, the videos carry information about and links back to where they came from.

Patterson declined to go into detail about what the YouTube viewing experience will be like on TiVo devices, but digital media hardware expert Dave Zatz says he thinks the tie-up between the companies portends TiVo supporting H.264 playback.

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