YouTube will start to sell music and video games and experiment with new advertising formats to grow revenue. The Google-owned business is taking the first steps towards building an e-commerce service through which it will sell music, films, TV shows, video games, books, concert tickets and other media-related products featured on the millions of videos on YouTube.
Visitors to YouTube.com can buy songs from music videos they watch on the site by clicking on buttons that take them either to Amazon’s MP3 store or Apple’s iTunes store.
YouTube users will also be able to buy video games through the Amazon link. Amazon and iTunes will share revenue with YouTube when users buy content through the partnership.
Investors have been asking Google when it would start to generate meaningful revenue and earnings from YouTube, for which the Web search leader paid $1.65 billion in 2006. Google does not break out YouTube’s financials, but analysts at Piper Jaffray Research estimated that the video site would earn about $200 million in revenue in 2009, compared with estimates of around $27 billion for Google.