There’s been a lot of buzz in recent months about services like YouTube that allow filmmakers to host and share videos. A BUSINESS 2.0 article reports that there are now a staggering 85 YouTube-esque websites that offer video sharing. Mark Mayerson had a post on his blog discussing why the advent of these sites is so exciting, and compares them to the days of vaudeville when anybody with talent had a chance to make a name for themselves.
Another nice summary of these sites comes from none other than former Disney chairman Michael Eisner, who has invested in a video sharing site called Veoh. He says in this NY TIMES article, “Anybody, now, can have their own network. There are no borders. No gatekeepers. No restrictions on creativity of any kind.” There’s just one problem with this entire scenario. There’s also no money to be made from any of these sites. Actually, let me rephrase that: there’s potentially plenty of money to be made by the people running the sites, like Eisner, but the individual content creators are going to be left out in the cold.
For example, the aforementiond BUSINESS 2.0 article suggests that if YouTube embeds ads into its user-created videos, the site would generate revenue of $15 million a year. Let’s say they announce a 50/50 revenue sharing deal with filmmakers (they still haven’t done this, but rumor is they’ll do something along these lines soon). That’s $7.5 million for filmmakers. And let’s make a conservative estimate that they’re hosting one million videos. That amounts to an average of $7.50 per filmmaker. Obviously some films will be more popular than others, but any way you do the math, even the successful filmmakers won’t be earning more than a few hundred dollars.