Google ties up BBC for YouTube

The BBC has struck a content deal with YouTube to allow 3 channels to showcase short clips of BBC content. This news comes hot on the heels of a New York Times article on Google’s quest for forming partnerships with smaller media companies as opposed to major studios and networks such as Viacom or NBC.

The BBC deal is an interesting one – to quote the Beeb itself:

The BBC hopes that the deal will help it reach YouTube’s monthly audience of more than 70 million users and drive extra traffic to its own website.

They also hope to earn revenue from this deal, although that will greatly depend on the quality of the clips BBC can put up on YouTube and the sort of attention they will attract.

The NYT article talks about how many companies partnering up with YouTube are on nonexclusive contracts and are pursuing similar deals with YouTube’s competitors such as Yahoo Video and BrightCove.

In essence, organisations are still treating online video as an experiment and are looking for ways to harness the power of social media while trying to account for copyright agreements and what not. It’s a difficult job, and made more difficult by the fact that the real content that people want is often not shown on YouTube.

As I noted here on YouTube’s deal with football club Chelsea, if you’re not going to give people something they can value you are not going to be successful on YouTube (or in any other social media circle). Using YT for ‘teasers’ is not going to work too well, unless you can tie it in with a solid call-to-action and the ‘next step’ actually brings them closer to watching the video instead of having them register and pay for access.

One way to make this work is to allow visitors from YouTube a one-time free view of the video / clip / program they came for, and then require them for simple registration to view more content.

If companies learn to create viral videos that include a call to action AND provide value, then they have a great chance at strengthening their brand and online presence through such deals.

Otherwise, a dud is a dud is a dud, and they’re just wasting their own time.

Ahmed Bilal is a business consultant – you can reach him through his blog.