With nearly 100 million videos viewed each day, it’s hard to beat the audience that YouTube has built.
But YouTube, for all its size and splendor, also has vulnerabilities. A new generation of viral video sites is trying to beat the powerhouse at its own game by answering the two major criticisms -- a need for revenue and greater quality control of the clips.
It is definitely a household name -- the Kleenex of video sites -- but YouTube can be enormously tedious. There are simply too many videos, and while you occasionally find that “Diet Coke and Mentos” gem, most of them are pretty lame.
But now a couple of sites are offering some incentive to separate the wheat from the chaff.
The video site Break.com is offering $400 for videos, and up to $2,000 for animated films. The goal is to attract quality films from budding filmmakers and not just the cell phone camera cat antics you frequently see at YouTube. The typical length is about 10 minutes, so these are really more like film shorts.
So far Break.com has paid out about $300,000 for videos, in the hopes that the better quality control will bring in ad dollars that YouTube may not be able to attract.
Another site getting some buzz is Revver.com. This site sticks ads onto user video clips, and then pays the user a share of the profits. The more clicks a video receives, the more money a user can make.
Revver just signed a major deal with Verizon to deliver video clips to cell phones. The service will cost subscribers $15 per month. Of course, if you can wait until you’re in front of your computer, the videos are free.
The whole business of video sharing is still in its infancy, and it is difficult to hazard a guess about which of the business models will ultimately succeed. One thing seems certain -- $1.65 billion for a site with no current revenue stream is a real gamble.