Last night at the Creative Commons salon in SF (http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Salon) the buzz around the Google – YouTube deal was not so much about the implications on Big Media content but rather about the content posted by independent users. The Burning Man-esque crowd of copyright reformers seemed to feel that Big Media would find a way to get paid for their content. But there was a lot of chatter about who was going to make money off the individual's work. Free server space for video hosting is a table stakes expectation. Unless GooTube can cut users in on the monetization of eyeballs to their work, the CC crowd fealt that the audience of video generators would migrate elsewhere much like LonelyGirl15. The creators of LonelyGirl limited their posts to YouTube once they realized they could make more money by teasing the content on YouTube & MySpace but bringing people to their own site (www.lonelygirl15.com) that could be directly monetized with Revverized videos.
It's safe to assume that the makers of AdSense and king of the micro-payment will find a way to financially reward independent video creators. However, even with a parity compensation program, YouTube should maintain its audience provided that they properly nurture the YouTube brand. Few digital media brands have exploded on to the popular consciousness like YouTube. Awareness is sky high, yet I would suggest that the depth of understanding of the YouTube brand is quite low.
In addition to using its new found resources to invest in a more rewarding user experience for video uploaders, YouTube would be wise to further invest in the drawing power of its Brand Awareness. If it becomes cooler to upload your videos directly on to your own blog, profile, or some other video service, the YouTube audience could erode.