YouTube Launches New Features to Fight Off Hulu’s Growth

The online video-on-demand market just got a little more crowded. YouTube is getting in on the party.

Jennifer van Grove of Mashable reports, “Now that Google has decided to make YouTube the home for both amateur and professional content, those premium advertisers should start to pour in, right? After all, we did just see a social masthead ad unit from Volvo yesterday. Plus, there’s the fact that YouTube is continuing to grow at record rates, and would be in position to grab a hold of international viewers if they were the first to make the content available outside the U.S., as promised (which neither Hulu or YouTube does just yet).”

Broadcast media titans NBC Universal and News Corp founded Hulu.com together and found early success in the growing market for streaming TV shows on the Web. CBS has recently relaunched its TV.com property to compete, and now Google is looking for more major media partners to enhance their content.

Along with movies and TV content, Wired reports Google is pursuing music producers, “Meanwhile, last week YouTube announced a partnership with Universal Music to build VEVO, a premium music video Web site (for) which Google will share some of the revenue. Content will be exclusively available through VEVO.com and a new VEVO channel on YouTube through a special VEVO-branded embedded player.”

This news comes shortly after Spencer Wang, an analyst for Credit Suisse, predicted that Google will lose $470 million this year from YouTube’s expenses. Evidently, it’s not cheap being the dominant market force in online video. According to Nielsen, in March of 2009, YouTube accounted for 5.479 billion (with a “b”) video streams, compared to Hulu’s 348 million (with an “m”) video streams.

Google is dropping hints that it has new monetization plans for YouTube. CNET reported Thursday that Google is going to try out micropayment revenue models. “With respect to how it’ll get monetized, our first priority is on the advertising side. We do expect over time to see micropayments and other forms of subscription models coming as well,” said Google CEO Eric Schmidt after the company reported first-quarter profits Thursday. “We’ll be announcing additional things in that area literally very, very soon.”

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