October 10, 2006
Google Video Strikes Music Video Distribution Deals

Google's purchase of YouTube isn't the only thing making the news for the Internet giant this week, as they also have entered into an agreement with two major music labels to release music videos through the Google Video service. In fact, the blog Toby's Space mentions the irony of these deals being struck for Google Video just as YouTube was purchased by Google, pointing out that Google Video is "a destination that has been utterly dwarfed by now-sister site YouTube."

The plan is to provide dual platforms for audience members, one offering the content on-demand in a pay-per-view format, with each video costing $1.99, set by the iTunes price (which seems like a rip-off when compared to getting an hour television show for the same price), while the other is available for free but accompanied by advertisements that the viewer must watch to view the video.

The plan is to provide a lucrative new stream of advertising for Google, while giving customers another choice to sidestep ads. The structure is similar to Websites which provide a "premium site" free from advertisements, as has The Pro Wrestling Torch, which reports industry news on American wrestling.

The partnership is with Sony BMG and Warner Music Group, with the videos debuting later this month. Both Google and the record labels will share in the profits, and the long-term plan is to make this content available through other Web sites as well, sites that features Google AdSense advertisements. The Sony videos had been available for download since January through the Google Video Store.

In addition, according to their recent statement, the company wants to create copyright-safe places for user-generated content, such as a space that would allow them to create videos using footage from the Google music video repository that can be repurposed and then posted to Google Video. In other words, the company is looking to create ways to do what YouTube does without facing the barrage of lawsuits that have been threatened in the past few months.

Daisy Whitney with TelevisionWeek writes that "the twin agreements underscore the need for online video destinations to work with content owners," while Rhys Blakely with The London Times foregrounds this decision explicitly against the desire to compete with Apple and the rise of many other players in online offerings of professionally produced content ,including plans for a new YouTube-style competitor featuring professionally produced content from the founders of Skype, entitled "The Venice Project."

Check out Search Engine Journal, a site that follows the developments of companies like Google, as the name would imply, for copies of the individual press releases regarding Sony and Warner.