It may not be the grand monetization scheme advertisers have been dreaming of, but Google's YouTube hopes a new click-to-buy program for music, video, and games will kick up some revenue for itself and its big media "frienemies."
Through agreements with Apple's iTunes and Amazon, YouTube will let video watchers click through to buy related media from those companies.
The retail links to iTunes and Amazon product pages will show up adjacent to video content from media companies where the media is authorized to appear.
YouTube said it will gradually add click-to-buy links to thousands of partner videos, including those uploaded by EMI Music and Electronic Arts. In EA's case, YouTube said by way of example that videos featuring recent title "Spore" would carry the links.
Additionally, any of those media partners using YouTube's content identification system can enable retail links on their claimed videos should they opt to let them stay on the site. The content ID and management system gives media companies a share of ad revenue on pages where their copyrighted material resides.
YouTube called click-to-buy the first step in creating a "broad, viable e-commerce platform."
"Our vision is to help partners across all industries -- from music, to film, to print, to TV -- offer useful and relevant products to a large, yet targeted audience, and generate additional revenue from their content on YouTube beyond the advertising we serve against their videos," stated a post on the official YouTube blog.
YouTube's affiliate program is U.S.-only, but an international rollout is planned.
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Until March 2012, Zach Rodgers was managing editor of ClickZ's award-winning coverage of news and trends in digital marketing. He reported on the rise of web companies, data markets, ad technologies, and government Internet policy, among other subjects.
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