Sponsoring YouTube Videos.

I'll confess - I'm a YouTube addict. Sometimes I'll spend hours a week just looking for great videos. Of course there are plenty of terrible, non-interesting videos floating around, but with a little bit of patience and search know-how you'll find plenty of gems.

In fact I now subscribe to more YouTube users than I do blog feeds. For example, here's a hilarious Mother's Day video done by two guys who call themselves Barats and Bereta. As somebody with 3 brothers myself, this video had me laughing out loud.

Today I noticed a great new video from Barats and Bereta called "Cubicle Wars" - but this one said it was "created for Windward Reports." I did a double-take since Windward Reports is one of my favorite Microsoft .NET-based solutions for custom reporting and I couldn't understand why I was seeing their name in the context of my daily YouTube crawl...? So I emailed David Thielen over at Windward and sure enough, he explained that they recognized the talent of videographers like Barats and Bereta as well as the creative medium of YouTube and decided to sponsor a series of videos (I'm told that more are on their way). I think it was a brilliant marketing move. The video just went live on Friday and he's already getting "10,800 views per hour" - sweet!

Of course, some people are worried about the proliferation of ads potentially ruining the YouTube experience. But I applaud David and Windward for their approach - the "ad" component isn't in your face at all, and at the end of the day if companies like Windward want to sponsor great talent like Barats and Bereta then everybody can win in the form of better content.

Five years ago, guys like Barats and Bereta would have had to get lucky enough to be cast by Hollywood to make a living this way. But thanks to YouTube and innovations like the availability of hobbyist-friendly digital editing software the democratization of the video production industry has truly arrived.

Which makes me wonder... how can I use this to increase the awareness of Visual Studio Team System? I'd love your ideas. Maybe I should sponsor a video by Renetto... "This next application lifecycle management tool which I am about to review..." ;-)