Friday, February 5, 2010, 9:39 AM ET|Posted by Will Richmond
This week brought news that YouTube's recent foray into rentals netted the company a whopping $10,709.16. I wasn't surprised by the results, as YouTube only made 5 Sundance films available for 10 days. As I suggested 2 weeks ago, even with YouTube's massive audience, it would be unreasonable to expect too much. Still, it was great promotion for the indie film producers and no doubt a learning experience for YouTube.
I'm not religiously opposed to YouTube broadening its model beyond free and ad-supported video, but I do think YouTube needs to be wary of spending a lot of time trying to secure me-too rights for distribution of Hollywood's prime TV and movie output. That's highly competitive ground, and Netflix for one, has enormous advantages given its robust subscription model. YouTube is in the pole position when it comes to the ad-supported online video model and it needs to be relentlessly focused on proving it can make the model profitable.
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