YouTube to share revenue with users

Internet phenomenon introduces new innovation

DAVOS, Switzerland — Chad Hurley, co-founder of YouTube, said Saturday that his wildly successful site will start sharing revenue with its millions of users.

Hurley said one of the major proposed innovations is a way to allow users to be paid for content. San Bruno, Calif.-based YouTube, which was sold to Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc. for $1.65 billion in November, has become an Internet phenomenon since it began to catch on in late 2005. Some 70 million videos are viewed on the site each day.

“We are getting an audience large enough where we have an opportunity to support creativity, to foster creativity through sharing revenue with our users,” Hurley said. “So in the coming months we are going to be opening that up.”

Hurley, who at 30 is one of the youngest Internet multimillionaires, gave no details of how much users might receive, or what mechanism would be used.

In October 2005, Revver — which like YouTube offers video clips online — announced plans to attach advertising to user-submitted videos and give their creators a cut of the profits. Revver has said it would split the ad revenue evenly with content creators.

Hurley said that when YouTube started, he and the site’s other co-founders — Steve Chen and Jawed Karim — felt revenue-sharing would build a community of users motivated by making money, rather than their love of videos.

But that as the site has grown, the three, who continue to run the company, have come to see financial remuneration as a way of improving content.

Hurley spoke on the last full day of the World Economic Forum, which brings together the world’s political, social and business leaders for a five-day gathering on the problems facing the world.

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