Break.com, one of the rising number of Web sites offering user-generated videos to rival the likes of YouTube, said Sunday it would nearly double the amount of money it pays for video clips to $400.
Back in January 2005, Break.com started paying $50 per video and raised the price to $250 before Sunday's new hike, Chief Executive Officer Keith Richman said.
The money is even better for animated videos which, due to the complexity of their production, will fetch up to $2,000.
Web video payouts and increases like those unveiled by Break.com are being closely watched in the fledgling Internet arena where competitors such as Revver, BlipTV or iFilm are trying to improve content to lure viewers and advertisers.
For the most part, user-generated videos are less than 10 minutes long and show real people talking into their own cameras, dancing, singing or doing stunts. Sites like Google Inc.'s YouTube have not paid people who upload clips.
But in recent months, videos like those posted by "lonelygirl15"' on YouTube have become pop culture phenomena attracting millions of watchers. Lonelygirl15 was a fictional character dreamed up by three young filmmakers who have since launched careers based on their "Webisodes."
The backers of video sites hope to one day rival television networks and attract millions of dollars in advertising. With that in mind, Web search giant Google acquired YouTube in a deal valued at $1.65 billion and completed this month.
Break.com's Richman told Reuters that so far the site has seen little correlation between higher pay and the quality of videos it receives.
However, he said the cash has boosted awareness among young video makers and, as a result, increased the number of videos it gets. With growing awareness and better camera technology, he said the quality of Web video should only increase, and he labeled a new type of celebrity on the Web -- the "e-lebrity."
"We are excited for the new year, because we are going to get better videos," he said. "People are just now starting to realize what works on the medium."
Break.com is not the only user-generated video site offering cash. Revver places ads on videos that are uploaded to it, and then splits advertising revenues with the video maker.