YouTube experimented with renting videos on its site during the Sundance Film Festival in January. In the ten-day test, reports said they netted about $10,000 from the four films.
Apparently that was enough to impress YouTube. Recently they opened the rental program to many publishers. Barry Schwartz blogs at Search Engine Roundtable that he found an “Enable Rental” option in his account the other day. Clicking the button let him edit the revenue sharing options to his video to include rentals.
YouTube is letting its publishers set their own rental length (ie the amount of time users will have to view the video, 24 hours to unlimited), as well as rental price ($0.99US to $19.99US). YouTube has to approve the video for rental. Until it’s approved, the video is labeled “Video submitted for rental consideration” in the publisher’s account and available for free on YouTube.
Barry points to a YouTube help forum on the January rental program for more details. Naturally, the comments are home to several complaints, mostly about the original rental test run. However, two users complain of problems with removing videos from the rental program—one had all ads disabled on his video after he removed it from the rental program, making it impossible to make money from, and the other accidentally deleted his videos when trying to remove them from the rental program. So be careful out there.
There’s no official word on the exact revenue split for YouTube and the content publisher.
What do you think? Will you rent or offer videos for rental on YouTube? What kind of revenue do you think the company is seeing from this?