Metacafe, a YouTube-like video sharing site originally from Israel, has just gone live with a revenue sharing program called Producer Rewards. The payments are on a sliding scale and based on 'views'. Payments start at 20,000 views ($100) and go up from there - e.g. 2 million views is $10,000. Videos must also have a rating of 3.00 or higher (maximum is 5.00) to qualify for payment, of which Metacafe notes: "this tells us that the viewers like the video." What I liked best about this scheme though is that the users retain ownership of their videos - the license to Metacafe is a non-exclusive deal. However the users must own the rights to the video to begin with and there are some content guidelines which the video must pass (e.g. must be family friendly).
There are already Metacafe users who have earned over $1000 - the top earner so far is a user called Reel Stunts who has earned $23,215 (as of now). That was earned from a single video, called Matrix - For Real.... It's a 3 min 41 sec camcorder video of a University student doing gymnastics - pretty amazing athletic ability, but there's nothing that special about the video. However it's been viewed 4,642,700 times, so has earned big bucks.
This Revenue Sharing program might turn out to be a good way to get the best 'user-generated video' on Metacafe's site. But as Steve Bryant points out, YouTube will continue to "have the copyrighted content that everybody digs." Of course YouTube may have its own problems with some of that content. But as a way to encourage amateur video enthusiasts to upload their videos in the hope of getting a decent sized payout, Metacafe may be onto a winner here.
Also check out Steve's excellent overview of Metacafe, in which he explains that Metacafe used to be a desktop app - and to this day uses a desktop app for its volunteer editors. Metacafe has behavioral ranking and filtering technology, which works as follows:
"For a video to make it onto the site, it first goes through a quick but extensive filtering process, courtesy of volunteer editors using the desktop app. The editors' ranking is then combined with what Czerniak calls a "behavioral ranking" -- data culled from monitoring how users interact with clips on the desktop app."
Hmmm, so that's how the video of "monkey kissing" got on the homepage! Finally, here's my trail of Metacafe - showing the links mentioned in this post with a little extra commentary.