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YouTube's 'clip culture'

YouTube CEO and co-founder Chad Hurley said his video-sharing site is encouraging what he calls a "clip culture."

In an era of limited attention spans and abundant choices, his assessment of society as online video comes of age is right on the money. These days, as television networks are attempting to redefine themselves with costly, long-form productions just to maintain their audiences, let alone grow them. YouTube's short-form and low-quality audience-generated videos are attracting about 20 million unique visitors a month. The average video length viewed is 2 1/2 minutes long, said Hurley. Changing the way society behaves is a big feat in and of itself. But it's unclear whether YouTube can make a living doing so. Today, YouTube gets money from banner ads. It's also struck a deal with NBC to promote that network's shows. When I asked Hurley what else YouTube can do for the major networks, he said that the site can be a platform for all the video that's typically on DVDs, such as behind the scene takes and bloopers. Hurley and I chatted after his panel at the Always On. One obvious way for YouTube to make money -- before burning it all away on delivering the video for the world -- is to place 5-second post-roll advertisements on those 100 million video clips being viewed each day. Yet Hurley doesn't want to do that. To me, inserting advertisements into the videos seems inevitable. Auctioning the placements in the video ads is a business process that also seems inevitable to me. Another model is to get sponsors for groups. Yet another is to either get paid by marketers when users recommend certain products.

Go MarketWatch, and read my Net Sense column for my video interview with Hurley and the rest of the column. Read BF's Net Sense.


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