What does Youtube want to be when it grows up? I’m not sure, but looking at everything they’re doing, you can bet they’re not necessarily focusing on a single niche market, and when you’re big like that, you can afford not to!
Currently, Youtube provides a place for people to post their own videos, up to 15 minutes in length (they just upped it from 10 to 15 minutes yesterday), and up to 2 GB in file size.
But wait… there’s more! Youtube also has some of the fastest servers to serve up this video content, they also provide the highest resolution available. Just over a year ago their maximum allowed resolution was 720p. About 6 months ago they upgraded to 1920×1080… and last month, Youtube shocked every ISP in the United States when they rolled out 4K. Youtube also does livestreaming for certain events, but they may expand that service in the future. They also have a partner program, allowing brands to customize their channel pages beyond the normal user customization features (look up almost any Fortune 500 consumer products brand, the White House, etc. and you’ll see what I’m talking about). They have the most robust video advertising program online. Youtube is going places… but what does the future hold?
Here’s my theory: Youtube wants to be the platform where everything video-related happens. They want news organizations publishing content here. They want music videos, live sporting events, live concerts, television shows, and yes, even movies. They want educational content. They want to be TV online… forget Netflix, forget DVR, forget theaters: enter Youtube. Just look at Google TV and Youtube Leanback. TV is their goal–and not just one screen, they want to own every screen: mobile, PC, and TV– Youtube wants to own the concept of TV. Why? Um… it’s only the largest source of advertising revenue in the world, period.
What other reason would Google want direct fiber optics to the home? Yeah yeah- they have their other services… but being able to deliver TV to the entire world with the overhead of servers and the people to run them is a big business. Granted, they’ve only started to figure out the money side of things over the past year or so, but with Google behind them (Google earning most of it’s revenue through advertising), they can take that model beyond where any other internet video property can go.
Through Youtube, Google is building out another cash cow to keep them going on their mission. Yes, Google owns search advertising, but in the world of advertising, search is a small part. Despite what the bloggers around the world say, radio and television ad spending still dwarfs Google’s share of the search market. Google understands this, but getting into the broadcast market is very cost-prohibitive. They know this, but they also know that the internet will eclipse the airwaves eventually, and they want to be there when it does (and they’re doing everything they can to get it there faster, promoting faster internet, internet-capable televisions, etc.).
It will be interesting to see where things go, but that’s my prediction (I’m on a run with these predictions… but I know Google pretty well… I’m a fanboy, remember?).
Just Google any of the above mentioned facts and you’ll find the information you need.