@ MidemNet: YouTube’s Hurley Seeks License Reform, Will Ramp Up Rev Share

IMG_3601YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley called on Europe to simplify its content licensing systems. “It would be great, at this point, on the publishing side, if they were able to streamline their prices, potentially have a pan-European license that would cover publishing because, for us, it’s hard to deal with,” Hurley told delegates as the MidemNet conference wound down in Cannes.

“I think the EU has (taken some steps) but, if anything, it’s actually made things worse. So there might be an opportunity there to streamline that process and create a license to cover it all.” Hurley later told paidContent.org: “If that can be pulled off, it would improve just the level of innovation. It’s hard for these startups. Us, being part of Google (NSDQ: GOOG), we have the resources to do all the negotiations, but it still takes a long time. But you have startups out there that want to innovate on top of the media, the content that is out there.”

Websites must license in music and music videos in Europe largely on a per-country basis (though EMI set up its own CELAS collection society to work across Europe) – red tape that has recently frustrated Apple’s (NSDQ: AAPL) feathers. YouTube did its first international licensing deal with the UK’s MCPRS-PRS alliance in August, when it paid the group to use 10 million pieces of music. The EC acknowledged the problem when it put out its Creative Content Online In The Single Market paper out to consultation earlier this month, and will be publishing its subsequent proposals for creating “multiterritory” digital content licenses in the summer.

But Hurley called for licensing reform elsewhere, too. “Beyond streamlining the process, what we really need is the data, is to understand what they need to be paid, because (collectors) are not telling us,” he told the crowd. “With the labels, they’ve invested in the infrastructure to automate that process. To do to a deal and not to understand what or who to pay… I think we need a solution there to really be able to make these deals move forward, because we want to do deals.”

Other highlights…

Growth: “Every minute on the site, we’re receiving over 10 hours of video. When you receive that amount of video, we see problems around finding what you’re looking for – so we’re going to be solving a lot of problems in 2008, helping people to find video.”

Ad rev share: Hurley repeated the ad strategy is to “try to create ad concepts that don’t distract the viewers … but to try and provide relevant advertising; that’s what Google does best, we’re going to try and work that in to the system”. “We’re sharing our revenue not only with our partners now but with hundreds of users now, and over the next year we’re going to be expanding that program to try to get everybody involved in the process, because we’ve seen it actually increase the quality of the content on the site.”

No P2P: “Peer-to-peer has its advantages, it’s got potential to save you some money. But, with the resources that we have at Google, with the architecture that we’ve been able to build form day one, we don’t think we have to hit that direction right now. We’ve been able to build something that is cost-effective and works consistently without having to rely on peer-to-peer connections or downloading of any type. Maybe in the future we’ll consider it but, right now, I think what we have is going to last us quite some time.

Europe: On startup video sharing imitators catering to localized markets, Hurley told paidContent.org: “We know we’re not going to be the only player on the game, but what we’ve been able to do is build a global audience. That’s what people what, they want to put a video online and be seen by miilions of people and gain a reaction. That’s what we can provide for them, just not within their local market.” South Korea just became YouTube’s 18th localized site. “We’re learning going to be learning, we want this to function and act like a local site, have it be more of a relevant experience for that market and not kind of like our US view.”