YouTube In Talks To Open TheirTube Services Only For Verizon Customers
from the money-talks dept
Reports this morning say YouTube is in “advanced talks” with Verizon to set up a deal giving Verizon Wireless subscribers some sort of access to YouTube from their mobile phones, as well as Verizon TV customers on-demand access to some YouTube content. Clearly the biggest challenge for YouTube is to parlay its popularity and traffic into revenues, and the line of thinking behind the Google buyout was that its advertising technology and expertise would help on this front, since Google’s the undisputed champion of turning free services into massive revenues. But it looks like Verizon’s waved some money in front of YouTube and gotten them to think a little bit differently. While these exclusive deals may be good in the short term, their long-term prospects don’t look particularly good. Even if YouTube had been able to wrangle deals from broadband providers, would it have been able to become so popular if it were available only to, say, Cox cable internet customers? Furthermore, these deals don’t appear particularly well-thought out on Verizon’s part: they apparently want to sell people daily access to YouTube’s most popular videos through an on-demand feature of their FiOS TV service. So, users can pay for a small sliver of what’s available on YouTube’s web site for free, and see it in the sterling quality that will result from blowing the images up to fill TV screens. That sounds like a winner. And the idea that being able to view another small piece of YouTube’s content on their cell phone doesn’t seem particularly likely to drive users to Verizon Wireless, either: look over the failure of Mobile ESPN for more on the folly of exclusive mobile deals from the content provider’s point of view. Monetization is a big challenge for YouTube, but that doesn’t mean it should jump on every deal that offers some payment. Its success was built on being an open platform that encouraged and empowered video sharing; opening up services available only to some users, dependent on their network provider, is a step backwards from that, and one that won’t lead to long-term success.