I just read in this AdAge piece that Brightcove is poised to be the syndication venue of choice for online video. This kind of monetization opportunity is something I've wanted to see for a long time- I thought maybe Google video could make it work.
I've been saying for about a year that there could be a business in a market making function- bringing content and viewers together at non-zero prices- that would be in everyone's interest..but I'm not sure that Google video isn't better positioned and I'm also not sure it's even a business- what are the margins like on online reservation platforms like SABRE etc?
In general, I think content owners are too paranoid to think straight about business opportunities in the download market.
If the incremental revenue for a Dr. Who episode is zero when someone downloads a pirate copy but is X when someone watches a copy-protected stream from the BBC, the free copy wins the educated consumer with a little time on his hands (aka probably a majority of Dr. Who fans). In my mind the issue is that content owners aren't willing to split the difference- as though introductory microeconomics ceased to exist for their products. With smart pricing and a global content delivery network, this could be a killer, but buy-in from rights holders is a huge roadblock. Sigh.