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Monday, May 25, 2009

How to Lose $1.87 Million on YouTube

Great article in today's NY Times about the Susan Boyle phenomenon -- and how it has generated zero online advertising revenue for the creators of "Britain's Got Talent."

From Brian Stelter's story:

    The case reflects the inability of big media companies to maximize profit from supersize Internet audiences that seem to come from nowhere. In essence, the complexities of TV production are curbing the Web possibilities. “Britain’s Got Talent” is produced jointly by three companies and distributed in Britain by a fourth, ITV, making it difficult to ascertain which of the companies can claim a video as its own.

    Before the current season of the talent show started on April 11, the parties tried to cut a distribution deal with YouTube, but they could not agree on terms, according to two people with knowledge of the talks. The people asked for anonymity before they would discuss confidential negotiations.

The article cites an estimate that about $1.87 million in ad revenue would have been generated by the Susan Boyle videos so far. (Here's some background data about Boyle's audience reach online.)

What can you as a content creator do to avoid a similar fate? Set up an account with YouTube's Partner Program as soon as you can (once you've met their criteria), so that when and if you have a big hit of your own, you're earning some coin from it.

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