Saturday, August 16, 2008

Some YouTube Clips Now Featuring Ads

Some movie producers have decided that rather than fight illegal clips from movies that appear on YouTube, they will advertise on them.

NYT reports:

After years of regarding pirated video on YouTube as a threat, some major media companies are having a change of heart, treating it instead as an advertising opportunity.

In the last few months, CBS, Universal Music, Lionsgate, Electronic Arts and other companies have stopped prodding YouTube to remove unauthorized clips of their movies, music videos and other content and started selling advertising against them...

YouTube users who post the content without permission will not share in the advertising revenue generated by their posts. Instead, it is split between the media companies and YouTube.

The infringing user receives an e-mail message with an ominous red banner saying “a YouTube partner made a copyright claim on one of your videos.” The e-mail message explains that the media company has “authorized the use of this content” and that viewers may see advertising on the video.

For example, a user-uploaded video for the music video for “Disturbia” by the artist Rihanna is still online, even though YouTube makes it easy to remove. The Rihanna video page was uploaded by a fan three weeks ago and has attracted 1.2 million views. It now features a prominent ad and a small disclaimer that cites the Universal Music Group as the owner.

Under pressure from media companies, YouTube introduced a technology last fall called Video ID which allowed copyright owners to compare the digital fingerprints of their videos with material on YouTube, then flag infringing material for removal.

It was widely expected, given the acrimony between the parties, that media companies would simply demand their material be taken down. But the technology offered an alternative, allowing the companies to “claim” the videos and start showing ads alongside them, creating a new revenue stream for both YouTube and the content owners.

YouTube executives say they have been surprised by the interest in the advertising option. David King, a product manager at YouTube, said in an interview that 90 percent of the copyright claims made using the identification tool remain on the site and are converted to advertising inventory. The other 10 percent are either removed from the site or tracked by the content owner.

“A year ago, I don’t think I would have dared guess that” so many videos would be converted, Mr. King said. “They want to leave it up and make money on it.”

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