The N.Y. Times (registration required) has an article on Lulu.tv, a video website that allows users to upload clips. They are about to introduce a Pro account for $14.95 a month. 80% of that money will be awarded to uploaders based on the popularity of their videos. To get things started, Lulu.tv is putting $5,000 into the pot. Bob Young, CEO of Lulu Enterprises admits this is an experiment.
Right now, Revver.com will share 50% of its ad revenue with people who post videos to the site.
I don't know if the subscription model or the advertising model is going to be more successful. Maybe both will thrive. But keep an eye on this. The site that generates the most revenue for its contributors will become the leader in the field.
Meanwhile, the L.A. Times (registration required) has an article that compares the ability of movie executives to pick hits to "an ape throwing darts at a dartboard." It argues that there are so many variables between the time a film gets put into production and the time it gets released that it's impossible to predict the film's popularity with audiences. Winning streaks and losing streaks are more the result of random events than they are executive skill at picking and packaging projects.
Bottom line to both articles: The audience is king. Put your efforts into entertaining them and you've got a better chance than finding an ape to throw your dart.