Yes, in the 2008 annual report, Google admitted that it still “has yet to realize significant revenue benefits” from the $1.65B video site, even though it’s by far the most popular video destination on the Internet. Some recent studies suggest YouTube stands to lose $470M this year. As Ad Age puts it, YouTube is still “Google’s toughest sell to advertisers.”
Meanwhile, YouTube is expanding one of its money-making programs (which means it’s successful, right?). Announced six months ago, Click-to-Buy adds links to purchase copyrighted music featured in videos. The new expansion will bring the service to eight new countries,
including the UK. The program was already running in the UK, which is notable because recent copyright disputes between British record companies and the video giant, YouTube blocked access to thousands of music videos in that country.
In the announcement, Google links to a recent study in the UK that showed that 50% of adult users in the UK went on to purchase music after watching a YouTube video. 36% actually bought a CD (how 1998!), while 15% went for the digital download. An additional 7% purchased concert tickets. Could all this be a move to help the music companies and Google work out a deal?
Click-to-Buy places an overlay on professional and UGC videos containing copyrighted music (although a quick search of YouTube shows that his is far from universal—no pun intended), as well as links below the video:
Google, the music company and the MP3 vendor all make money from this arrangement (in a typical affiliate kind of way, I’m sure). Originally, the links only appeared below the video; the overlay has been added since the original announcement.
Have you ever purchased a song through Click-to-Buy? Do you think you would? Do you see other opportunities for expanding this type of deal (say, maybe, click to buy DVDs from movie trailers)?