Google is apparently considering making part of Youtube's audience pay to access exclusive content provided by third party providers as its ad revenue splitting model faces new challenges in 2010.
David Eun, Vice president of Content partnerships at Google told news outlet Reuters (opens in new tab) during an interview that "We're making some interesting bets on long-form content; not all content is accessible to us with the advertising model."
Content producers may view Google's proposals with interest as it would mean that the world's largest online video sharing website would promote legal videos and weed out those that are either of dubious origin or sub-par quality.
Youtube is costing Google a huge amount of money every year - after having paid $1.665 billion for it four years ago - and the search engine giant is keen to convert Youtube into a money spinning machine; it already has one of the biggest audiences online but these eyeballs should now translate into hard cash.
In addition, Google's less confrontational attitude towards content producers and the fact that it is presenting itself as a content broadcasting platform rather than a rival might make the transition easier.
Broadcasters like News Corporation, Disney or Bertelsmann might be less reluctant to collaborate and provide their content when Google manages to "capture the value" of that content.
Eun further hinted that Google would keep its eyes on advertising revenues though and said "If we just continued to focus on our advertising model that would be enough opportunity to create meaningful revenue."
Youtube might therefore start charging a monthly subscription fee for some of its content or introduce a pay as you watch system where users pay a variable fee depending on what they want to watch. Oh and by the way, Youtube should watch its back as Hulu is growing fast. It might not be the largest around but at least it is generating revenues.
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