Is YouTube Subscriptions an option for you to sell videos online?

On Thursday May 9, 2013, Google discussed its plans to offer a video subscription service on YouTube. This came as no surprise, although it’s a departure from their traditional free content approach, to which advertising (and huge revenues for Google) are attached. Some YouTube accounts receive money from video advertisements but the low Cost Per Impression (CPM) YouTube offers doesn’t make advertising worthwhile for most businesses.

YouTube is currently limited to select list of partner channels

YouTube is currently offering subscriptions to only about 50 select partner channels. These channels will have the ability to activate subscriptions for their account. YouTube has not announced their long-term plans and there is no mention of whether this feature will become publicly available.

Analysts have maintained that the YouTube subscription service is aimed at the likes of Netflix and Hulu. Although it includes businesses, educators, and entertainers who want to sell their own video content, it also targets TV networks evolving from the cable world. The Vancouver Sun reported that Canadian TV’s Corus Entertainment, DHX Media and OUTtv are among those helping YouTube move into a subscription model.

Most of the subscription revenue goes to YouTube.

According to Billboard Biz, “YouTube Subscription’s Split with Content Creators Likely to be Less than 30%”. That revenue percentage is not enough for most small businesses to consistently create original video content.

Some companies just want to produce their own content and get paid by their niche audience, whether the goal is to enhance a brand, train or educate constituents, or artistically connect with audiences.

What options do small content producers have?

Unless you are a big media company, the YouTube Subscriptions is probably not a legitimate option. This news does make us think, “How can small companies and individuals sell their videos online?”

Here are 6 alternative ways to sell videos online…

  1. Approach an existing streaming provider or network – Good luck with that. Even with all the competition for video streaming dominance, the major players want to unseat Netflix or Comcast, which means courting television networks, not small businesses or individuals.
  2. Pursue a device-specific video platform (Apple) – All Apple iOS devices have excellent video capabilities, and a host of apps to deliver them, including Apple’s own “Videos” app. The problem (besides assuming that all your viewers have iPads or iPhones) is that Apple charges a big fee for in-app purchases. Many of the apps are also focused on networks and studios, not on small businesses or individuals.
  3. Pursue a device-specific video platform (Android) – Ditto number 3, without the appeal of the Apple brand. It will be interesting to see how the “Google Play Movies & TV” app for Android is positioned vis-à-vis YouTube’s new service, but it’s not much help for small business who aren’t already in the movie business.
  4. Create your own online video store – Good luck; you’ll need it. All you need is a website with video-savvy webmaster, who knows all about encoding, player technology, online security, and e-commerce.
  5. Sell DVDs online – Don’t laugh. Discs are cheap, and easy to produce these days. While not as convenient as streaming, physical media has its advantages. It’s secure, and you can sell it on Amazon. There are a lot of DVD and Blu-ray players out there, not to mention laptop and desktop PCs.
  6. Find an online service that offers video subscriptions – This option provides a turnkey solution to get started quickly and begin making money. When evaluating your options, it is important to be able to easily group your content and set your own pricing.

Happy selling.