YouTube is going to have to learn to be about the UGC

Let’s face it most the time we don’t go to YouTube to watch the videos of guys jumping off of the roof, or girls lighting their hair on fire.  We go to see Pirated cuts of the Daily Show, South Park, and other shows.  Content from Japan that we can’t get here, and Clips from Super Bowl Half Time Show (Janet Jackson’s Boob, Prince and his Phalic Guitar).

But with NBC/Universal, Turner, and those guys in Japan all suing YouTube to have their content pulled how much compelling content will there be? 

UGC can be interesting.  But the companies that have done UGC exclusively, or given away content that is not UGC but they have permission for have failed.  Google in my opinion missed the draw of YouTube.  It is not Content management, it is not User Ranking it was doing just enough pirating to not get sued but just enough to draw a crowd.

Revver on the other hand has a good chance of making it in the UGC space.  As Ed Sims pointed out Revver has their Mission Statement aligned with UGC as a model.  YouTube never really got that.

MetaCafe Doesn’t benefit from the Revver / YouTube ability to put their content on your site, which I think long term is part of how UGC will benefit.  The ability to let others aggregate, and add context to UGC will bring value beyond what the content itself may have.

I think which ever company leads in the UGC space will have to figure out how to reward the Content Creator, the Channel that “Pimps” the content, and the contributing artist such as the song the cute girl is dancing to, or that StarWarsKid works out to.

This multifaceted revenue share is going to be difficult to make work, but I think it is necessary to not getting sued, and to finding a large enough audience to actually make content generation worth while.

As I prepare to start offering Online Video Content, it is very much on my radar that in order to succeed I need to get my content watched, but I also need to make sure I get paid for each view.  Will I be OK with giving Revver a large cut?  Will Revver get me twice the number of hits I would on my own?   Will they be able to get me more per view than I would get going direct to my ad partners?  How much time will it take to get those advertisers?

I am a rare case in that I will be investing in content creation rather than just capitalizing on home movies I’d have made for my own enjoyment, which swings the pendulum towards finding ways to build my brand rather than capitalizing on the brand of Revver, which leads me to the next issue(took a long time to get here I know) with YouTube.

They have too much brand.  If you are Comedy Central, you want people to watch Comedy Central.  If your clips are on YouTube, all of a sudden people say things like “Did you see John Stewart on YouTube today?”  Not “Did you see Comedy Central last night? With John Stewart?”  This dilutes Comedy Central’s Brandwidth.

All in all, I don’t think Google understands content.  That sounds odd at first, but if you look at what they seem to understand it is Meta Data.  Like a librarian she can point you at the book on Microorganism Paleontology but she doesn’t understand the subject, just where it lives, and that a book on the Biology of Planera might also interest you.

1.6 billion for what I think was the wrong company, and bought for the wrong reasons.