On the day of YouTube’s deal with MGM to show some full-length television shows and films it is interesting to note that all the online video sites are adopting the same broad strategy of focusing on professionally produced content. From the UGC side DailyMotion has for a long time been encouraging small film makers to use the site for self-promotion and distribution and Metacafe has always offered payment for the most popular videos, plus YouTube already has a deal with independent filmmaker Lionsgate. On the pro content side popular sites like Hulu (US only), BBC’s iPlayer here in the UK, and also promising UK startup Blinkbox have had this strategy from the start.
It has been well understood for a while now that advertisers are wary of UGC sites – the fact that a massive site like YouTube (81m visitors in Sept) needs to change strategy shows you just how wary. And make no mistake this is a massive shift for YouTube, who in their early years took a very combative stance against the same producers of professional content that they are now seeking to partner with. To this end YouTube now offers tools to studios which allow them to identify their own content and either take it down from the site or share in the ad revenue.