EA dragged into YouTube paid coverage dispute

Get the feeling this might be the tip of an iceberg?

EA has become embroiled in the controversy surrounding behind-doors payments for coverage from YouTube video producers.

Documents unearthed by NeoGaf show that EA has a program called Ronku that paid YouTubers for covering specific EA titles. It even highlights key game moments that should be covered, such as the iconic skyscraper toppling in Battlefield 4.

The typical rate was $10 per thousand views.

"Through EA’s Ronku program, some fans are compensated for the YouTube videos they create and share about our games," an EA spokesperson confirmed to The Verge. "The program requires that participants comply with FTC guidelines and identify when content is sponsored.

User-generated videos are a valuable and unique aspect of how gamers share their experiences playing the games they love, and one that EA supports.

"We explicitly state in the Terms & Conditions of the program that each video must comply with the FTC’s Guidelines concerning Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising."

The fact is that, despite what some corners of the internet will claim, companies paying for coverage or advertising is not morally wrong. What is less defensible is paying for coverage but that payment not being disclosed, leaving the viewer ignorant of the true motivation behind the footage they are seeing.

Did no-one ever ask to think how this new video content revolution was being bankrolled?

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