The Great Video Cash-In: Offering Monetization Musings to the Budding Content Provider

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Did you know that more than 3,500 years of new video footage (according to Trends magazine) is created every single year? Now, that’s a lot of video!

Clearly, people make videos for all sorts of reasons, but I want to focus on videos created for one of two reasons: fame and/or fortune. In a society with that much content, it may seem unlikely that one could attain either fame or fortune. However, there are ways to attain both.

If the goal is fame, the video should appear on a popular video website and as many as possible (usually via syndication). This increases the total reach and raises the likelihood that the video would obtain the critical mass to spread virally (e.g. Lonelygirl15, Numa Numa or Star Wars Kid).

If the goal is fortune, there are a couple of different ways to attempt to reach it, but none of them are very good, unless you are incredibly clever and talented, like Lonelygirl15’s creators. A video creator could sell his video to consumers directly (very hard unless you can cut a deal with iTunes).

Another option would be to sell directly to web publishers who are interested in exclusive rights. The third option is to attempt to get it sponsored by advertising. Obviously, if you are producing a single video that is not a high-end product (think network quality or better) you have very limited options when it comes to advertising support. As such, most video creators are left working with a video aggregator.

According to a recent Business 2.0 magazine story, there are more than 170 YouTube knockoff sites (and that was more than five months ago), so there are quite a few choices. However, only a few of these companies will actually pay for content (e.g. Revver will offer a revenue share on the portion of advertising sales that comes from views the video generates).

But for the most part, the aggregators generally do nothing to help promote individual videos on their site, nor help in getting them syndicated widely. Getting it spread is up to the creator and is a one-website-at-a-time process. Also, most of these companies only stream videos; this eliminates the ability to spread a video via peer-to-peer (P2P) networks or BitTorrent, two very popular sources of user-generated videos.

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