At the beginning of this year, Google made a move WHICH some consider smart while others disapprove of. It’s about YouTube, the popular website for free video sharing. According to CNET news.com, approved users can now charge the viewers of their uploaded content. The way people get approved is by participating in the YouTube Partenrship Program. This program was launched by Google last year (2009) and, as far as I understand, gives partners the right to share revenue with Google. Since May 2010, the program participation gives them also the privilege to charge viewers of their uploaded videos.

Source: Flickr

Google views this practice as a way to attract established producers to upload on YouTube, in addition to the users who upload videos to share. The public opinion on Google’s move and strategy, though, is varied.

Source: Work from Home Blog

Some people see the pay-per-view plan as a pure money-making mechanism. Also, a lot of OTHER users say that they wouldn’t pay for videos with undetermined quality. Many opponenets SUGGEST THEY wouldn’t pay to watch any video online. A lot of MANY people, however, applaud Google for this action for reasons ranging from appreciating other people’s work to feeling privileged to watch something that others don’t have access to. But doesn’t this change the whole concept of YouTube?

For me YouTube is about whatching all kinds of videos, usually unprofessional, both for information and entertainment. Part of its charm is having an enourmous amount of amateur videos of almost everything you can think of. I know other websites where I can watch movies online and I wouldn’t think of going to YouTube for that. At this point, it is important to note that the paid content on YouTube isn’t going to be just anything. The aim is to offer premium service to people who are willing to pay for it. Charging for any kind of video is out of the question. I agree with some of the people who have commented on the issue that YouTube could have a separate website for pay-per-view movies and videos with better quality. This would probably make both sides of the debate happy.

One of my concerns is the mechanism of determining who can charge for content. As long as we’re talking about professional movie producers, everything is alright. Thus, users may have access to movies they would not otherwise see. However, if people with a lot of money can charge viewers for any kind of videos, I believe this would spoil the whole idea of YouTube. Having in mind that most people are greedy by nature, an opportunity like this would set off competition and bring one very good website down.

What worries me even more is who will determine the price and is it going to be different for every location. It is well-known that renting movies doesn’t cost the same everywhere and one price for all sounds ridiculous. But then, who will determine the prices? And isn’t it possible to cheat about your location once the prices are different?

As long as the price is reasonable, I would probably pay to watch a wide selection of movies and programs. It doesn’t have to be YouTube – I would take the best deal on the market. If Google is determined to expand to this part of the industry, who am I to say no? But you never know what change will bring. They could profit or they could lose. Still, the motto of YouTube is Broadcast Yourself. How does it incorporate a television station or a movie producer showing a program or movie? It seems to me a little out of the way. Doesn’t it?

Posted by: Agi Stoyanova

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