Coming soon to YouTube - Feature films

Bambi Francisco Roizen · November 6, 2008 · Short URL:

YouTube morphing to compete with Hulu, Veoh; but can it make money?

 Just last week, I had a discussion with Jordan Hoffner, YouTube director of content partnerships, about long-form and short-form content online and monetizing both. Hoffner hinted that YouTube would be delivering a lot more long-form video in the future. But I argued that monetizing full-length or hour-long shows would be difficult to monetize, unless perhaps if delivered in chunks. Otherwise viewers would be overwhelmed with ads.

He disagreed. Little did I know that YouTube is planning to offer full-length featured films as early as next month. "I would say you can expect to see it, if all goes well, sometime within the next 30 to 90 days," according to CNet sources

By offering such movies, YouTube will be morphing away from its roots as a user-generated-video site and into a provider of professional shows and films, such as  , and NBC and News Corp's Hulu.

It's unclear whether Hulu is making a killing off the ads on its programming, given the bandwidth, marketing, and costs to content owners, and Veoh reportedly just laid off 20% of its staff. 

Maybe it's a good time for YouTube to get into such offerings. It's a logical step. But is it the right time?

Apparently the monetization of the content has yet to be hashed out.

Here's what the CNet piece pointed out:

"There's skepticism in some circles about whether enough ads can be placed into a streaming movie to make it profitable without also overloading viewers with commercials. Another sticking point with some of the film companies is Google's insistence on using a specific ad format for feature films, according to two studio sources. They declined to specify which ad unit Google prefers--whether it's prerolls or postrolls or something else--but said some of the studios want the final say on how to advertise to viewers."


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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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