Thursday, October 4, 2007, 8:38 AM ET|Posted by Will RichmondOn my flight home last night I was thumbing through my hotel-provided USA Today and happened on this interesting piece about how record labels are transforming their music videos from promotional tool to a bona fide new revenue source. Chalk up another unforeseen win for broadband's ability to enable new business models.
Rio Caraeff, EVP of eLabs, Universal Music Group's digital division says that licensing its music videos to the likes of Yahoo, AOL, YouTube and others now generates over $20M/year and is growing briskly. Supporting a forecast of solid growth ahead, Ian Rogers, Yahoo Music's GM believes that viewership of music videos will expand by "10 to 100 times over the next one to two years."
According to comScore, Yahoo is the web's #1 music destination, pulling in 23.4M uniques in August. Caraeff also noted that streaming accounts for the lion's share of the revenue, with paid downloads of music videos still miniscule. He cites the best-selling download of all-time, a Justin Timberlake single as generating only 58K buys, which, at $1.99 apiece, adds up to less than $120K.
None of this is to say that music videos won't continue to be used as promotional fodder. But these nascent, growing licensing and ad-sharing revenues show broadband's power to mine content value that was previously inaccessible. Sports leagues, particularly MLB.com, have been masterful at this as well, driving successful broadband-only subscription businesses. I expect others to sprout up as well.