How YouTube Could Become YouLose

There's good news and bad news for Google's YouTube and its many users.

First the good.

Google is jumping on board the video love train that will share ad revenues with contributors. Revver does that already. But the giant YouTube's entry into pay for play changes the face of the online video experience.

Now the bad news.

Google and YouTube are mulling the idea of adding commercial videos before the clip you're looking to view starts playing. They haven't made up their mind yet. Perhaps this research from a recent Harris poll will make them think twice about it:
  • Nearly three-quarters of frequent YouTube users said they would visit the site less if it started including short video ads before every clip
  • 42% of those said they would visit YouTube a little less often and 31% would visit significantly less often
  • 42% of adults say they have watched videos online at YouTube and 14% are frequent visitors
  • One in three frequent visitors to YouTube watch less TV
There is precedence for commercial rolls. Viewers who want to catch an episode of, say, Desperate Housewives that they may have missed are willing to watch the commercials online to do so. But the question is will YouTubers who are used to clicking and getting what they want fast and free tolerate the imposition of capitalism?

This is the dilemma traditional media companies have been saddled with up until now -- Generation Y resists commercialization. But now new age companies like Google has to deal with the quirks of the next generation. How do you share revenues to video providers and earn revenue to come up with the pay.

Google says it's looking at lots of options. A decision should be announced in a few months.

Keep in mind that even if YouTube remains commercial-free the dew could be off the lily in no time with this generation. My mantra is "Gen Y flirts with but does not marry it's technology". Perhaps the best way to keep YouTube alive with such a fickle generation is to keep innovating. Gen Y has a soft spot for something that is new -- and that matters to their lives.

What I fear is happening is that new innovators are hitting all the right buttons with the next generation in inventing new media concepts, but are falling back to traditional media's ways of monetizing their ideas. I could be wrong. Perhaps it is in the future for Gen Y to suck up the commercials as every preceding generation has done, but I wouldn't bet the franchise on it.

When Google announces its plans for YouTube monetization we will know what the most innovative company in new media has come up with for their solution.