Alex Chitu spotted a new ‘purchases’ section in his YouTube account today and YouTube just made it official: YouTube’s partners can now offer their videos for paid downloads. While Google has always given its partners the option to offer downloads of their videos under the Creative Commons license, some of Google’s partners will now also be able to charge for their videos.
YouTube is currently calling this a ‘test,’ and only a select sub-set of YouTube partners will be allowed to charge for downloads at first, but we assume that if this test is successful, Google will allow all of its partners to charge for downloads.
It’s no secret that Google has been struggling to find effective ways to monetize YouTube. The announcement did not mention how much of a cut Google is planning to take from the purchase prices, but chances are that the company is hoping to generate at least some income through this new initiative.
The videos we have found so far were typically available for around $1. Downloads will only be available as MP4 files.
Google is also using this as an opportunity to promote its Google Checkout product, as it is the only way to actually purchase a video.
Will There Be Enough Demand?
As MG Siegler points out, it is not clear if there will be a lot of a demand for downloadable videos on YouTube. And while that is probably true for most of the content on the site right now, this might change if Google manages to get more TV shows and movie studios to feature their content on the site. At that point, downloadable content might actually become interesting.