Thursday, June 26, 2008

Time is on their side: GooTube

There is a bit of a kerfuffle about Google's purchase of YouTube last year.

In one corner, you have Marc Cuban (Billionaire Dallas Maverick's owner, founder of HDNET and sometimes-rumored aquirer of the Chicago Cubs). He thinks Google screwed up buying YouTube because they aren't making money on he doesn't see the near term potential for them to. Marc thinks a TV network site like Hulu (see my previous posting on Hulu) has it right (see Marc's testosterone-fueled blog posting on the subject).

Then there's the others, like Forbes columnist Quentin Hardy (see posting on Quentin's panel at the South by Southwest Interactive panel). He thinks they have it right using YouTube as a data goldmine. In essence, YouTube is the biggest station on the planet.

Personally, I think it's hard to argue with numbers like these, which might indicate that YouTube has it right (source, comScore Media Metrix):

For one month, March 2008:

  • 73.7 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
  • 84.8 million viewers watched 4.3 billion videos on (50.4 videos per viewer).
  • 47.7 million viewers watched 400 million videos on (8.4 videos per viewer).
  • The average online video duration was 2.8 minutes.
  • The average online video viewer watched 235 minutes of video.

When contemplating what people do online--and therefore where they choose to spend their time--it would appear that the long tail of YouTube has sticking power.

Numbers like these support the idea that a distribution network (like YouTube or NBC) wants all the content it can get...while content providers want to be where there potential audience is. For a distribution network like YouTube, they can have both the best content (in the sense of well-produced by people who do it professionally) AND the most demanded content (even if the demand is from small groups of 10-15 friends, family, and colleagues who could care less if the shot was in HD or from a single camera). A network like Hulu or Joost are tied to the content providers who have locked in with the traditional broadcast networks...amateurs content producers need not apply.

Google has time to make it work...both the YouTube audience's and their cash flow statement's.

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