Monetizing videos: The rush is on

Rafe Needleman Former Editor at Large
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
2 min read

Forget sharing videos for free. The trick right now is to make money from them. To that end, new video sharing sites are springing up that promise to share the revenues created from videos with the users who post them. We've already seen Revver and Blip.TV. And this weekend eeFoof launched. That prompted the Seth Alsbury, the CEO of Panjea, to contact me, claiming an even more robust content economy than the other services.

Panjea pays its users for content in two ways: First, it operates an online store where content creators can sell downloads of the audio and video files (and eventually, tickets to events). Second, Panjea gives users a cut of advertising revenues. And not just from ads in the videos, like most other video sharing sites; Panjea also cuts its content-creating users in on ad revenues from their static Web content (like their profile pages).

To keep users on the site, Panjea also awards "points" for just browsing. These points can be used like money on Panjea to purchase content from other members.

How good is Panjea? From the user's perspective, it's a nice site on which to browse media. The pages look good and the media player works well (although an expandable video window would be a good idea). The social networking functionality (the member pages) takes back seat to media, though, so fans of musicians might not feel as at home on Panjea as the musicians themselves.

From a business perspective, for Panjea itself as well as the artists on the site, it all depends on winning over the advertisers. Panjea is running Google AdWords on its member pages, which is a good way for the company to kickstart the advertising revenues. The video and audio advertising strategy has yet to reveal itself.

The upshot: If you're a musician or video artist, go ahead and put your work on Panjea. You might eventually make a few bucks. But I still think artists should take a portfolio approach to community sites, and put their content on a bunch of them (YouTube, MySpace, iMeem, etc). You never know where the fans are going to end up.