October 9th, 2006
Google’s $1.65 billion acquisition of YouTube solidifies Google’s position at the center of media. Google already has Google Video, so they didn’t buy YouTube for the technology. No, they bought YouTube for the traffic, the same reason they cut the $900 million deal with Fox Interactive Media.
So don’t believe Eric Schmidt for a second — Google is now the archetypal media company — online video is just the next step in their quest to monetize the world’s content through advertising. The challenge for Google is that video ads are at the opposite end of the annoying/consumer-hating spectrum from text ads.
Google’s acquisition of YouTube is also the final step in the orphaning of content creation, which now exists completely separate from content distribution and monetization. You supply the content — Google will take care of the rest.
The content business just ain’t what it used to be.
Relfecting deeply on the Google/YouTube deal, Andy Kessler asks:
What is media anymore? Can you just slap videos up on the Web and become a younger and more vibrant Rupert Murdoch or Sumner Redstone?
I’ll add: Does media have anything to do with content anymore, or is it all about aggregating people’s attention by any means? Was media ever really about content?