One of our favorite topics to talk about and debate, whether it is here on the Video Insider, on other blogs or in conferences, is YouTube. Whether it is the merits of the acquisition by Google,
copyright issues or just the general fascinating scale of the service, YouTube is a topic that we have yet to tire of discussing.
Google's well-known opaqueness when discussing key
statistics and figures about YouTube only adds to the controversy. Last year, Eric Schmidt admitted that it hadn't yet cracked the formula to make money from the service. This helped
fuel the trend of bloggers and analysts estimating that YouTube was a cost and resource drain.
We're starting to see Google attempt to dispel some of these notions (which are
largely based on rumor anyway). During the Google earnings call last week, executives highlighted impressive growth such as a tripling in the number of monetized views. Chief
Financial Officer Patrick Pichette said that profitability was within its sights -- in the "not too distant future."
Another interesting move on Google's part was a
recent post to the YouTube Biz Blog called "Myth busting."
In the spirit of the Discovery Channel
TV show "MythBusters," YouTube takes several "myths" about the service to task. Each one is more interesting than the next. One has to be impressed with the progress
that YouTube made on the advertiser front: according to the post, over 70 of the top 100 Advertising Age
marketers ran campaigns in 2008. YouTube also hins that tools to give
advertisers more control over where the ads appear on the site are coming soon.
Three of the myths have been mentioned so many times that they are somewhat accepted as industry fact on why
advertisers haven't poured money into the service in the form of sponsorships. They are: that YouTube is mainly short-form user-generated content; the videos are poor quality; and that
YouTube is only monetizing 3% to 5% of the site.
What is interesting is that YouTube does not outright deny that these are false (with the exception of the latter, which the post
says is wrong without citing the accurate percentage). Instead, there's an emphasis on the site's positives: thousands of premium content partners, hundreds of full-length movies, more
HD streams than any other site and hundreds of millions of weekly monetized views (more than most competitors' total views).
So YouTube does not disagree with many of the
issues advertisers have with the site: its proponents would just like to point out that it also has tons to like. Scale solves it, for YouTube.