Some time ago, we talked about one possible video application would be to monitor User Generated Content (UGC) for illicit material, such as copy-righted material that was posted against the wishes of the content owner. The application focused on being able to identify these types of videos and alerting the UGC site to them.
Well, now the content owners got wise and recognized a way to make more money on such content: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/07/technology/internet/07youtube.html?_r=2&hpw
This means the application has a new twist. Instead of alerting the UGC site, the application needs to alert the content owner. The content owner can insert watermarks or overlay bugs that could be recognized by the detection algorithm to make this application easier.
You have to admire the brilliance here. Now we have 18 year olds grabbing content they steal off of network television and posting up on the network for all their friends to see, and all it does is generate money for the network who originally posted it. I could easily see this changing the format of television itself. Will televised segments be broadcast in a more 'friendly' way so that the insatiable army of would-be social networkers can go forth and unwittingly make money for corporate television? Perhaps the content owners can advertise a URL or SMS Short Codes on the content to alert people where they can go to 'steal' it in high quality format and then re-distribute it on their social networks, all the while enabling additional sources of revenue.
Could the content be tracked and advertising revenue be collected? Well, even if only a small portion of it was successfully monetized, that is more value than the content will receive sitting in a vault someplace.
This concept could revolutionize the monetization of content. Instead of trying to prevent people from grabbing it and redistributing it, perhaps all is needed is a way to attach ads to it.