December 1, 2006
YouTube/V CAST Deal a Natural Extension for Cross-Platform Distribution, But Do Users Feel It Is Overpriced?

When we write about new forms of cross-platform distribution, it seems, for the most part, that we are discussing transferring television or film content into an alternate form of distribution. But the new deal between Verizon and YouTube is a reminder that these content distribution deals can also be based on content that first appeared on the Web. But some of the initial user response indicates that what fans perceive as incorrect pricing for these services could lead to them being ineffective, even if the crossover is a natural idea.

Mike Shields with MediaWeek points out that, "at this time, the company has not laid out whether those clips will be primarily of the user-generated variety or will feature content provided by YouTube partners, such as CBS or Universal Music Group." He summarizes YouTube's co-founder Steve Chen's philosophy as being that "extending into the mobile space is key for YouTube to make its platform available to consumers wherever they want it."

Beginning in December, YouTube's deal with Verizon is the first between the video sharing Web site and a mobile partner. YouTube video clips will be made available through Verizon's V CAST mobile TV service. Only a fraction of YouTube's offerings will be made available to Verizon customers at this point, with plans for the top-ranked videos to be the content available on mobile devices. V CAST service is a minimum of $15 a month for access to the video content.

YouTube is not the first online video provider to make this deal with the V CAST service, as Daisy Whitney with TelevisionWeek points out. V CAST already has a deal in place with Atom Films, and Whitney also points out the deal between and Amp'd Mobile as further proof that "the fact that short-form video is a natural fit for both industries may facilitate more partnerships."

The press release touts that "YouTube's move into the mobile space will enable a new audience of mobile users to enjoy entertaining videos virtually whenever and now wherever they want."

Rumors of this deal have been circulating since earlier this month.

Some users are not happy at how restricted the deal is, feeling that the exclusivity and expensive pricing will be a deterrent to what is, in actuality, a great idea. For instance, Pete with the this is only a test blog writes, "Call me crazy, but when I hear that YouTube content will be available on my cellphone, I imagine that it means I will have access to all that same content, and I'd be willing to bet that the average Verizon customer thinks the same. But no, for an extra fifteen bucks a month (on top of what I already pay Verizon for my phone service), I can get access to ten videos a day. To add insult to injury, they're videos selected by Verizon, based on presumed popularity and appropriateness."

And Kevin C. Tofel with jkOntTheRun points out that, through the Orb service, one can watch YouTube content for free through a mobile device already.

There is also a deal now set between V CAST and Revver. I wrote more about Revver here earlier this month.