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YouTube testing paid video downloads

updated 03:30 pm EST, Thu February 12, 2009

YouTube Paid Downloads

YouTube this afternoon said it would start testing purchasable downloads of videos from its website. The company has previously offered free downloads of videos from a handful of providers but is now experimenting with a system that would let companies put a price on permanent copies. While every payment would go through Google Checkout, video owners would have say over the prices and could have licenses varying from a strictly private-only license to Creative Commons rights for modification and sharing as well as a completely open public domain option.

The move would let viewers have access to significantly more videos when offline, particularly on portable devices without Internet access. Videos are usually encoded in H.264 and are often playable on iPods, Zunes and other devices that support the modern video format but lack 3G or Wi-Fi to get online.

YouTube is currently letting existing content partners sign up to qualify for the testing, but hasn't said how long the test will last.

YouTube's parent Google has previously tried a similar approach through Google Video but eventually gave up on the venture after YouTube's surging popularity and video copy protection made the option impractical. However, the company has been increasingly looking for ways to make the largely amateur-dominated YouTube profitable and has encouraged both more major-brand content as well as run tests of full-length movies that carry advertising.

By Electronista Staff


  1. Sandkat

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2005


    Aren't they already free?

    The only way I can remotely see this working is if the paid downloads were of significantly higher quality than what they made available on YouTube. As it stands it's already pretty easy to copy videos off of YouTube for free and just convert to whatever format you want. If you're just going to use it for your portable device then you don't really need very high res or high quality video.

  1. MeandmyMac

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008


    Forget higher quality...

    How about better quality. I'm not paying to view some goofy girl crying and screaming "Leave Brittany Alone!" or Obama's weekly radio address via YouTube!

    Advertise like the regular boob tube, with "commercials" or in this case, adverts on the sides or banners on the top and bottom of the web page or a advert before previewing the video. But paying??? For that!!!!

  1. WiseWeasel

    Junior Member

    Joined: Apr 1999


    h*** yes!

    h*** yes, I'll pay for high quality H.264 encoded movies and TV shows, as long as there's no DRM on them. About time an online video distributor offered a consumer-friendly option. Now if only they could get some decent content...

  1. PookJP

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Jan 2001



    The idea isn't to make you pay for every video. "Leave Brittany Alone" will still be free - of course nobody would pay for that.

    The idea is to transform YouTube into a combination of television and video rental store, while maintaining the user generated platform that exists today. I see no reason for this not to work. I'm happy renting a move from iTunes; why not from YouTube?

  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001


    brittney video

    I could be wrong, but I thought I saw somewhere that the 'leave her alone' person was actually a dude.

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