Google plans to give big media companies a cut of advertising revenues when their videos appear on YouTube, regardless of who posts them to the site.
The technology blog TechCrunch reported Wednesday that unnamed sources at YouTube expect Google to expand a program that allows media companies to sell advertising for their video content that appears on YouTube. The program is expected to be expanded by the end of the first quarter.
The blog reports that today only a few media partners sell their own ads on YouTube. But YouTube confirmed that a few big partners, such as CBS, already sell their own advertising inventory for videos in their own YouTube channels as well as on videos that are picked up by YouTube's Content ID system, which identifies copyrighted content, the TechCrunch story said.
YouTube has long had a contentious relationship with big media companies. Some, like Viacom, have even sued the company for allowing people to post copyrighted content. But if the report from TechCrunch is accurate, Google is offering an olive branch to big media. And the deal will likely benefit both YouTube and big media companies.
Giving media companies the ability to sell their own advertising--not only for videos they post but also for videos that others post--will help them recover revenue for their produced content. The move could also help big media companies develop their own online digital strategy by also allowing them to sell some of their own advertising for the content on YouTube. And of course, the deal would benefit Google because it would be getting a cut of these advertising revenues.
The advertising program is part of a larger effort by Google to monetize content posted on YouTube, which is the Web's No. 1 video site. The company has been experimenting with several business models. On Wednesday it announced that it will expand its click-to-buy products program to viewers in Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands. Previously, YouTube has offered this feature in the U.S. and the U.K., according to Peter Kafka at All Things Digital.
Google has acknowledged that generating significant revenue from YouTube has been difficult.