YouTube Serving “Money-Making Patrician Class” While Boasts “Revenue”

It appears YouTube continues to extend benefits to its “Partners,” giving them a distinct advantage over   YouTube posters who haven’t qualified. The bar has been steadily lowering on what qualifies a “YouTube Partner” (a group the LA Times calls “the money-making patrician class.”

Almost anyone who posts regular videos with a decent audience can become a “Partner” as long as they aren’t violating copyright laws. This is, of course, in Google’s financial interest since it needs more advertising inventory perceived “safe” for advertisers — and that therefore commands a higher per-view (or per-click) revenue. Google is facing tough economic times, but faces threats from recent revenue-darling and other online-video entrants. Naturally the financial chest-beating is somewhat misleading (see and Washington Post’s observations).

YouTube’s most recent benefit provided to partners exclusively is their ability to select their own thumbnail (while non partners will now “roll the dice” on a random choice. This isn’t trivial. Thumnails are the images that represent the video, and remain one of the most dramatic driver of views (beyond titles, creator and tags).

User-generated content, according to some, is dead. But my favorite piece on the YouTube vs. Hulu debate is by Mark Rizzn Hopkins (seen here on Mashable).

Let’s simplify this issue for the less informed. YouTube’s revenue is a rounding error for Google, and Hulu is a big bet for television networks moving to online video (what traditional media outlet isn’t looking to ramp up online revenue?). Hulu is likely overstating its actual earnings, but YouTube has a lot of room to boost revenue.

In every industry there are room for at least 2-3 major players. However online-video remains a virtual monopoly… YouTube does not have a close competitor in terms of total views or regular audience. It’s finding new ways to monetize its content, and it has the distinct advantage of a Google salesforce.

I like the idea of some pressure on YouTube by some additional competitors, but I’m amazed by how quickly journalists are willing to suggest the game is changing because Hulu had a good quarter.

28 Replies to “YouTube Serving “Money-Making Patrician Class” While Boasts “Revenue””

  1. Here’s a thought:

    I’m a fairly web 2.0 savvy individual. I’m on myspace, facebook, twitter, and a handful of other social networking sites. I participate in live video chat, youtube, and several other social media sites. I even have my own blog (click). Despite all of this, I’ve been to one time and one time only. It failed to meet my interest, and I don’t plan to return.

    I have a brain in my head. If I want to watch TV shows, every major network plays them on their own website anymore. And the person who wants to watch vintage or hard to find shows has no further to look than bittorrent for relatively high quality shows. There’s no draw for a person such as myself to go to a website that features some shows, but a lot of clips from tv shows. I can see TV shows…on TV!

    The reason I watch YouTube every day, and continue to surf the site into hours far beyond what my wife approves is because what I can see there is NOT found on television. It’s amusing, it’s watchable, and it’s user-generated. And you can dig as deep as you want into YouTube into YouTube, and keep finding talent beyond the main pages. That’s why I’m doing a show on unrecognized talent. The site is full of it.

    So, all you “YouTube’s dying” types who silently show up to read these posts, take note – YouTube is still king in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

  2. I don’t really believe the estimates on Hulu revenue. Everytime I’ve used the site, I see the same ad run three or four times on each program. Hard for me to believe that advertisers want to bombard viewers with the same message multiple times during a video. If things were going so well for them, then we’d see more diversity in their advertisements. I also think that Hulu has a tendency to hype revenue vs. profits. It doesn’t do them any good to make a million dollars, if they end up having to pay it to the studios for the content. YouTube has a distinct advantage in that they don’t need to pay anything for the content.

  3. This is a great website. I haven’t gotten into YouTube much (I know, one of the few) but recently started checking it out more.

  4. @Jim

    Welcome aboard. From one Jim to another, you’ll love the youtube experience once you immerse yourself.

    On topic:

    Upon reading the article from the post and reading a couple other sites, I see a major problem with Hulu: It’s a partnership between two rivals.

    NBC Universal has the major stake in the company from what I can tell, but it looks like Fox has a pretty good share themselves. Now, while studios leasing out space to competitors, and even sometimes selling a little bit of airtime to a competing station is normal in this day and age, trying to keep two companies that are professionally enemies in bed together will prove to be a challenge.

    The picture that forms in my mind is the image of animals fleeing from a volcanic eruption. All sorts of predators who would normally be at each others’ throats actually team up to escape the danger zone. Once they’re safe and things have calmed down, they go back to their predatory behavior.

    I think once Hulu is settled and finds itself in it’s groove, these two will start going after eachother, indeed something that has already begun.

    Just my thoughts though. Take them with a grain of salt.

  5. YouTube has a distinct advantage: Me.

    …What I meant is that it is a community of REGULAR PEOPLE. Yes, there are some famous people, but for the most part, we’re full-time workers doing this stuff when we can. That just seems way more appealing to a certain (apparently large) segment of people.

  6. “Almost anyone who posts regular videos with a decent audience can become a “Partner” as long as they aren’t violating copyright laws.”

    You probably think you are reeeeeaaaal funny, huh Nalts?

  7. I think all you can really ascertain from this is that there is room for both user-generated content and more traditional productions. It is not surprising that YouTube still likes to differentiate Partners from Non-Partners. With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility…

    The other thing to be mindful of, too, is that Hulu is only available to US residents. I’ve been informed that there are hacks to get around it. Whereas (with only a handful of exceptions – “This Video Is Unavailable In Your Location”) YouTube is available throughout the world.

  8. By the way, everybody, I would like to announce that my previous comment will be the last comment I will post on this website that involves complaining about not being a partner, nobody knowing who I am, having no subscribers, etc… That whole thing is getting a little old. It’s time for a new Reubnick! Woooo!

    and @11
    Good luck with that.

  9. Wait a minute Rubberneck. I am the last person in a long line of Rubberneck bashers. I’m sorry if you are feeling overly sensitive tonight but maybe you should consider that you have been here in the trenches pushing buttons longer than I’ve been on this site.

    So the one time I smack you with a witty 2 word comeback I’m the jerk?

    You need to have a nap and reconsider your priorities dude.


    It’s not so bad….really.

  10. Oh my GOD, Rubberneck is SO much better than Robnickel. I’m adopting it as my official Reubnick nickname.

    And I do not care if I spelled Ruebnick wrong. Either one.

  11. @12 point the camera the other way.

    The You Tube thumbnail deal is petty, PETTY!

    I’ll get to hulu eventually I guess. I hit it on a wrong day and it was buggy and irritating, but GoogleYouTube are getting haughty and PETTY! They needs some competition, more than Vloggerheads too (tho cheers guys).

    I was just thinking, the one really nice thing about online… as long as you can stay connected it’s never too big to fail. No matter how big Google or You Tube get there will always be creative people out there ready to make something to take its place. That’s probably what’s really scaring advertisers and corporations.

    PSA – Keep that in mind when Net Neutrality raises its ugly head again in the Spring.

  12. @20

    Okay, we go from robnickel to rubberneck to robbernick? I don’t think that’s a good idea, because to me, the next step in the progression is rubberdick. I don’t think you would like that one.

    Let’s stick with rubberneck.

  13. You know, I think we had some confusion in the comments of this post. Because now all of a sudden Sukatra is calling me rubberdick, Marilyn is debating separating some of us, I don’t even know how Jischinger got involved, and Jimmers thinks I’m over sensitive…

    Let me clarify. comment 15 was my attempt to contradict myself, and in actuality, I wasn;t serious about it. But somehow, Jimmers lost sight of the humor, and is now unpleased with me. This sparked many confusing comments and anger, and now here we are.

    You see, this is what happens when Brindle isn’t around any more! He’s screwed everything up somehow.

    (That guy’s a good scapegoat)

  14. Nope no confusion. That’s okay. We can see you getting all misty-eyed over there Rubberneck. Really! You know that Irony is a defense mechanism employed to divert attention from a hurt heart. Go ahead and cry, we’re all friends here.

  15. @9
    I will apply for the partnership program once I get 100 subscribers.

    If I make it, I will laugh.

    In the meantime, I will be removing any and all copyright videos from my channel… before I apply.

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