I was listening to online radio the other day when one of my new favorite songs came on. At that time, I was chatting with a friend online and casually mentioned that I was listening to my favorite song. She wanted to know the song, so I gave her the song title and artist name. A few minutes later, she IMed me back and said she’s never heard of the song before.

Curious how she was able to locate and sample the song so quickly, I asked her where she was accessing the song.

“YouTube, of course!”

Of course! YouTube has become my de facto library for all non-text media. It’s been a great reference source, as the matter of fact, whether I am searching for video or audio files.

Putting on my marketing hat, I’d have to say all the proposed strategies for monetizing YouTube that I’ve encountered so far are extremely backwards. People are still treating YouTube as the “online TV” when it’s so much more than that. It’s time to think outside of the box when one brainstorms about possible ways to make money off YouTube (or any other video sites, for that matter). Here are some of my thoughts:

  • As a laboratory – Most companies hire research firms to test their ad copies before they are released to the public. YouTube could easily make money by becoming one of those firms specializing in online video advertisement. Set up cost is minimal while the upside is almost limitless.
  • As a dedicated ad channel – Although most people view advertisement as necessary evil to get free content, few ads manage to get our attention. But sometimes an ad comes along and generates a huge buzz, and everybody wants to see the ad.  The Superbowl ads come to mind, but there are many more, especially the ones from overseas.  YouTube could set up a dedicated ad channel and charge advertisers to put their ads in the channel.

Any other thoughts?  Feel free to add your own in the comment box below.