Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2010 (Revised October 2010)

YouTube: Time to Charge Users?

by Anita Elberse and Sunil Gupta


In January 2010, YouTube, the world's largest online video aggregator, was still seeking to become profitable. Was the time right for Google, YouTube's parent company, to charge users seeking to upload content, as some analysts had suggested—and if so, who should be charged how much and for what? Could YouTube charge users for downloading content, a model it was now beginning to test? Or would it be better for the online video giant to continue to pursue an advertising model, but perhaps broaden its services to advertisers? Describes the online video market as of 2010 as well as YouTube's offerings to users, content owners, and advertisers. Provides information on the site's revenues and costs. Also contains detailed data on online video users and usage behavior.

Keywords: Online Advertising; Business Model; Cost; Profit; Revenue; Consumer Behavior; Internet; Motion Pictures and Video Industry;


Elberse, Anita, and Sunil Gupta. "YouTube: Time to Charge Users?" Harvard Business School Case 510-053, February 2010. (Revised October 2010.)