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YouTube Uploads Retail Links

8 Oct, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

YouTube is aiming to become a full-fledged online retailer.

The Google-owned site unveiled Oct. 7 a new feature for thousands of its videos that will allow viewers to buy songs, video games and, if all goes well, maybe movies too.

“Click-to-buy” links will be included on videos from YouTube partners, starting with EMI Music, Universal Music Group and Electronic Arts. The links send viewers to sites such as iTunes and Amazon.com, and YouTube will receive a commission for each sale.

“This is just the beginning of building a broad, viable e-commerce platform for users and partners on YouTube,” YouTube said on its site. “Our vision is to help partners across all industries — from music, to film, to print, to TV — offer useful and relevant products to a large, yet targeted audience, and generate additional revenue from their content on YouTube beyond the advertising we serve against their videos …”

“ … These retail links are being gradually added to our library of music videos and are currently only available to users in the United States, but our goal is to slowly but surely expand the program to additional content and product partners, as well as our international users.”

TV shows, films, movie and concert tickets, books, even products that earn just a mention in videos would be up next if YouTube users buy into the concept. YouTube also said the feature will only be available to users in the United States but that the goal is to add more content and product partners, as well as grant international access to the feature.

“This is just the first step in this adventure,” Shishir Mehrotra, YouTube director of product management, told The Associated Press.

Also, YouTube is touting its Lionsgate-sponsored screening room, a new player for feature-length videos. To promote Oliver Stone’s upcoming film W., YouTube is playing documentaries Thoth, Heavy Metal Jr., Peter & Ben and Great White Hunters.

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