Google today announced YouTube Direct, an open source platform that lets media organizations directly connect with YouTube users to request and rebroadcast their YouTube clips.
The application allows custom YouTube uploaders to be built into another site, so users can submit their videos directly and track the viewing metrics in their own profile. Google highlights the rise of citizen journalism as a major reason for the program.
ABC News, NPR, the San Francisco Chronicle, Washington Post and more have already picked up on YouTube Direct, and examples can be seen on their respective sites. All involved content remains hosted by YouTube, and the only cost incurred is associated with the media company’s Google App Engine account, and is based upon the amount of traffic being served.
“Though we built YouTube Direct to help news organizations expand their coverage and connect directly with their audiences, the application is designed to meet any organization’s goal of leveraging video content submitted by the community,” Steve Grove of YouTube News and Politics said today. “Businesses can use YouTube Direct to solicit promotional videos, nonprofits can use the application to call out for support videos around social campaigns and politicians can use the platform to ask for user-generated political commercials. The opportunities to use the tool are as broad as the media spectrum itself.”
In short, the idea is to pull free content from YouTube and syndicate it on high-traffic sites.
But the most interesting part of this idea is that it puts the shoe on the other foot in terms of content control.
One of big media’s problems with YouTube has been that it lets anyone upload copyrighted content, regardless of ownership. As a result, we’ve seen TV networks, record labels, performing artists, and every type of copyright holder force users to take down content that may have contained copyrighted material.
But in this situation, the bigger media organizations would be looking to syndicate the users’ content, and the user retains the right to pull the video whenever he feels like it.
To quote YouTube Direct’s FAQ:
“If a user decides to delete a video after he or she has submitted it to your site via YouTube Direct, then this video will be removed from YouTube, and thus will no longer play anywhere on your site that the video has been embedded or linked to. When this happens, there will be a flag visible in the moderation panel indicating that the video is not longer live on YouTube, and any reference to it on your site should also be removed.”