With premium content, monetization will follow, says YouTube exec

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Even though most downloads from YouTube still consist of user-generated content, the service's top priority for 2009 is to acquire more premium content from the likes of NBC and MGM, said the man in charge of putting those deals together.

Jordan Hoffner, YouTube's head of content partnership, spoke this afternoon before attendees of the annual OnScreen Media Summit, produced by Broadcasting & Cable magazine.

YouTube already has a lot of "little deals in place with these big media players. But now the time has come to expand YouTube's content to more feature films and TV shows," Hoffner said.

Hoffner's comments follow statements made in July by Eric Schmidt, the CEO of parent company Google, who told analysts during a quarterly conference call in July that his company is looking for big deals and new ways to achieve monetization. "There will be new monetization forms," Schmidt said then. "That is what we are seeking. That is the Holy Grail. When we find it, it is likely to be very large because of the scope and scale of YouTube."

Apparently, Hoffner believes that when these deals are put in place, Schmidt's ultimate goal of monetization will follow.

YouTube's movies and TV shows will co-exist with those found today on broadcast and cable outlets, Hoffner said today, adding that each medium has its strengths and weaknesses. "There's plenty of room for everyone," he commented.

But that content will also co-exist with what Hoffner himself called "cats on skateboards" and the estimated 96% of YouTube's existing user-generated material upon which the site's foundation has been built. He added that his company plans to do a better job of helping users find the content they're looking for -- whether that's user-generated or "premium."

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