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YouTube Serving 2B Video Ads Each Week

YouTube’s (s GOOG) ability to monetize user-uploaded video content has increased substantially over the last year, with the Number 1 online video site serving ads against two billion videos a week, according to a report in the New York Times. That’s an increase of about 50 percent over last year, the Times reports.

While YouTube has been working hard to strike content deals of its own, much of the increase in monetization has come from content owners who’ve chosen to run ads against copyrighted material uploaded by regular users. The site’s Content ID system, which it unveiled three years ago at the behest of content owners, enables YouTube to instantly identify videos that have been uploaded without the rights holders’ permission.

According to the New York Times, about one third of all videos that show ads were uploaded without the copyright owners’ permission but left up in this way. That’s a pretty large number, and indicative of a major shift in the way that content owners approach user-generated content. Whereas many content owners had previously used Content ID to take down infringing videos, they’re now using the same system to place ads against that content.

While monetization has increased substantially in general, the vast majority of YouTube content isn’t ad-friendly. The Times reports that only about 14 percent of all YouTube video views have ads run against them. That’s not a lot, especially when compared to premium video sites like Hulu, on which 80 percent of all videos shown are ads. Even so, analysts expect YouTube to finally reach profitability this year, with some forecasting nearly a billion dollars in revenues at the online video site.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: A Guide To Online Video Monetization Options (subscription required)

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