YouTube has taken the first steps towards making its online video-sharing site available to mobile phone users worldwide by signing a deal with US operator Verizon Wireless.
From next month, subscribers to Verizon’s VCast service will be able to upload videos to YouTube directly from their mobile phone, and will also get access to a limited number of clips from YouTube’s website.
Currently, YouTube users can only upload content from a PC once they’ve submitted an email address, but Verizon customers will be able to do so directly from their handset, once they’ve entered a five-digit access code. This strategy will make it easier for video enthusiasts to upload the clips they’ve taken on their mobile camera phone, and could significantly boost YouTube’s catalogue of clips. More than 100m videos are already viewed on the site every day.
However, rather than getting access to all of YouTube’s content, Verizon’s $15 per month VCast subscribers will be able only to download approved videos initially. The deal is currently described as a short-term trial, but YouTube is known to be keen to sign deals with mobile operators, and thus increase its user base.
The company is currently in the process of being acquired by Google, and the search giant is expected to increase efforts to generate revenue from the video-sharing site through advertising. The acquisition is expected to close in January.