When Gavin and Judy Holt heard they were having a baby, they decided to announce the news in an unconventional way: a YouTube video masquerading as a scary movie trailer.When it went live, Gavin shared it with the world via the /r/videos thread on Reddit and saw it get positive attention. Shortly thereafter, Gavin was contacted by video site break.com asking to license the content. To this date, the video has just over 947,570 views.
“We had to protect the content because if we didn’t monetize it, someone else was going to do it,” he told Tech Insider.
Monetizing a video with the potential to go viral can be tricky. On one hand, you don’t want to take a deal you regret if it blows up. But on the other hand, the longer you wait to protect the content, the higher the likelihood of it getting ripped off.
It has actually become a major issue in the YouTube community. Freebooting is when people download videos off of YouTube and then upload them to Facebook. When that happens, the original creators don’t profit off of it since the actual YouTube video isn’t get the views.
Gavin explained that there were two avenues to take to protect the content: sell the entire rights for the video outright or license it and make a certain percentage on income afterwards.
He ended up working with Storyful, a viral video licensing agent, that offered a 70/30 split on income generated from views in perpetuity. Since licensing it in September, the Holts have made $180, so it’s not exactly the blockbuster they were expecting.
But as the Holts explained, creating a viral video is definitely a headache. It’s a topic we explore in our latest episode of Codebreaker, the podcast by Marketplace and Tech Insider.