November 18th, 2008

Hulu to Match YouTube’s Revenue: Ten Observations For The Future of Media


An analyst at Screen Digest estimates that in “2008 YouTube will generate about $100m in the US, compared to about $70m at Hulu. Next year both sites will generate about $180m in the US.” That’s very significant because YouTube had 83m unique viewers in the US in September, while Hulu only had 6m.

Here, in no particular order, are ten observations you could make from this data, which speak to the the future of media:

  1. Professional content still has A LOT more value than “user-generated content.”
  2. Legal content still has A LOT more value than illegal content.
  3. Professional content produced for analogue media is worth pennies on the dollar when distributed in the web’s commoditizing content marketplace.
  4. It probably costs a lot more than $180 million to produce the content on Hulu, which means that it’s not a standalone business.
  5. Ads inserted into online video are about 1,000 times more annoying than TV ads (I say this having watched many shows on Hulu) — losing control of your content is not a web-native experience. This suppresses advertising value.
  6. TV/Video will likely follow the path of music and newspapers in suffering a dramatic decline in content value on the web.
  7. Video is probably not a panacea for newspapers trying to reinvent their businesses on the web.
  8. Most analogue media businesses, when fully transitioned to the web, will likely bear little resemblance to the original businesses.
  9. Google isn’t doing any better than anyone else at solving the content commoditization problem on the web.
  10. Six years after Google perfected search advertising, there has been no innovation in online advertising that even comes close to the same scale.

Comments (12 Responses so far)

  1. 5.b. the total % of time sold to advertisers is less online than on TV because of what you describe and that makes TV still a more favorable window for content aggregators

    6.b. but the overall money made on any minute of produced content is becoming bigger (theatre, DVD, pay-per-view, TV, online, mobile: the number of windows gets more and more)

    11. it’s not only about number of unique visitors, it is also about quality of content if you live of display advertising

  2. [...] Fuente: Publishing 2.0 [...]

  3. Peer-to-peer payment for online content is the only hope. If I want to see a video, read an article or download a song, I have to pay for it in some way. Once we accept that, we can move forward with more convenient payment methods (ie universal wallet) and more respect for copyrights.

  4. According to Rafat over at PaidContent, there seems to be some question about the source of Hulu’s revenues. Hulu owns all the inventory and sells it back to participating networks, which could be propping up its numbers. In any case, that’s not likely a sustainable model as the networks get wise.

  5. [...] delivery days at Yahoo! = it’s not easy generating revenue from general, user video content. Publishing 2.0 makes the same assumption based on Hulu [...]

  6. [...] Scott Karp over at Publishing 2.0 gives his ten “observations” about what this means for the future of [...]

  7. It will be amazing to see where video sharing sits a few years from now. I feel that we are only on the nose end of this.

  8. The three things in there that strike me as being absolutely key are:

    – professional content = highly valuable
    – legal content = highly valuable
    – online content = a commodity

    how do you reconcile those three things into a business?

  9. “the content commoditization problem”

    I’d like to see a whole post about this.

  10. Maybe time to move away from the old interrupt and repeat forms of advertising (online or off-line) and focus on customer engagement, permission based and context sensitive.

    A pay per click interactive hotspot on any video layer is the future for video revenue models but the problem then is the efficient tagging, indexing and management for content producers.

    Make good, targeted, entertaining and engaging content and it will spread.

  11. TV/Video will likely follow the path of music and newspapers in suffering a dramatic decline in content value on the web.

    Sure when the next best thing comes along…. all got subverted by a new product.

    Video is probably not a panacea for newspapers trying to reinvent their businesses on the web.

    Some papers with large enough branding could make the transition to an online newscenter.

  12. Imagine a global version of MTV without the restrictions of having to be on a cable package or satellite – that can be viewed on mobile devices. If I was an advertiser like McDonald’s, Toyota, Pepsi, Coke, etc., I would chomp at the bit to have the ability to tie my products to the content on that platform. That day is fast approaching. Mark my words! Youtube had its first live broadcast, which I thought gave a good glimpse into the possibilities for social media. However, their biggest problem is that they do not really have a major music community like Myspace or Facebook, so the content of the program was a bit novelty. No, all social media really need is a few more visionary thinkers.

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