YouTube’s going white label. This morning the online video outfit published APIs (application programming interfaces) giving publishers the ability to offer YouTube’s services directly to their own users. The move allows for the creation of so-called “chromeless” players–tailored to a publisher’s specifications and outfitted in their own branding–through which videos can be uploaded and viewed without ever visiting YouTube’s site. From the announcement:
YouTube’s latest API offerings allow anyone building a Web site or software application that is connected to the Internet to upload videos straight to YouTube; let users comment, rate and favorite the videos; and customize and control the Flash player in which the videos are played. This can be used in conjunction with the existing APIs, which launched last year and which provide the ability to view videos on other sites and to search for videos on YouTube.
“The enhancements to the YouTube APIs and Tools offering are free and easy to use, giving YouTube users yet another way to engage the world of video and actively participate in the YouTube community wherever they are, whenever they want.”
Of course, these enhancements also give YouTube and, by extension, Google (GOOG), another way to engage the world of advertising. In the API’s terms of service, YouTube reserves the right to serve ads through a publisher’s API Client, but prohibits publishers from selling their own. Two relevant excerpts from the TOS:
“API Data” means any data or content, including but not limited to YouTube video content, obtained from YouTube using any YouTube API, including advertising content that YouTube may, in its sole discretion, provide along with or insert in data or content obtained from YouTube using the YouTube API.”
4. Commercial Use. You agree not to use the YouTube API for any prohibited commercial uses, which include the following actions taken without YouTube’s express approval:
- the sale of the YouTube API, API Data, YouTube video content or related services, or access to any of the foregoing;
- use of the YouTube API for the primary purpose of deriving revenues from your API Client, such as advertising or subscription revenue or the sale of copies of the API Client;
- the sale of advertising, sponsorships or promotions targeted to, within or on the API Client or YouTube video content.
Ah. So that’s how it is: YouTube doesn’t just broadcast you, it broadcasts advertisements as well.
UPDATE: YouTube product manager Jim Patterson tells TechCrunch that the API is open to YouTube Partners, who will share in the advertising generated by their players.
We are not introducing any fundamentally new way to monetize. Any video that is uploaded through our API is treated exactly as on YouTube.com. In general if a video is uploaded to YouTube, in some cases we serve ads into that on YouTube.com. When people embed those we reserve rights to serve ads in the future.”