YouTube's Partner Program: The DIY Netflix?

One of the goals of producing The Frugal Filmmaker episodes has always been to gain a partnership with YouTube. This allows the folks at Google to place ads on your videos and share a cut of that revenue with you. This requires an application and you must meet unknown requirements of subscribers and views to be selected. I've hoped that maybe I could make the show self-sufficient so that it could run for a very long time.

I've had another thought about this goal, something that could be even more beneficial than a paltry sum: free distribution of feature-length content. One of the other benefits of becoming a partner is your upload limit jumps from 15 minutes and 2 gigabytes, to unlimited time and 20 gigabytes. This is a really big deal.

I try to encode my shows so they looks as good as possible and they still come in at under 500 megs (the longest episode was 11:28 and 418 megs). This means I could make a 2 hour feature and it would come in under 5 gigs, way under the 20 gig limit. I could then upload the entire thing to YouTube instead of a bunch of chunks (which a lot of people do now). This would let me stream full features to whoever wanted it in the world--much like Netflix or Hulu.

This makes Video On Demand a reality to any filmmaker who can make partner--all at ZERO cost. It means potentially world-wide distribution of your work, without hassling with any middleman. It's a very exciting prospect.

Of course, you still have to market the thing. No one will watch your film if they don't know about it. Monetizing it is another challenge, but releasing it for the world to see will get you many more eyeballs than the traditional method (which doesn't really apply to microbudget projects, anyway). And with current trend of YouTube being accessible through your TV and mobile devices, the sky is no longer the limit.

You just have to make partner.


Unknown said…
Its an interesting prospect. I often ask myself if what makes it to this partnership is always quality content, that we aren't falling to the "Idiocracy" type ideas and abilities. I dont know many low budget actually emotionally and mentally engaging things that get this stamp without being heavily funded or really ridiculous humor (Im not saying I dont watch the previews and fan made trailers but still its not original content thats worth the time really). I like where its going but its way too conveniently bite sized at this point. Me personally I like to be drawn in alittle more to a story instead of just thrown the meat of it immediately.