Google’s YouTube still doesn’t make a profit, although it pulled in a big $4 billion in revenue in 2014, up from $3 billion in 2013.
Which begs the question: Would a traditional TV network/station group survive investor criticism with these kind of bottom-line results?
The problem seems to be that YouTube could have more direct contact with its one billion users each month. A huge part of its traffic, according to the Wall Street Journal, comes from links or video embedded on other sites.
YouTube, for many, is still one massive digital video platform, one with tens of thousands of video producers -- long, short, and mid-form videos. Sounds like a lot of choice.
Yes, we understand this is new, not traditional digital media. And that spells a different business model. How to get people more directed to YouTube? Perhaps YouTube actually needs to promote itself in a big way -- just like any other TV network/station.
Traditional TV content providers like CBS, ABC or NBC wouldn’t have the same leeway to generate big revenues without profit. Those companies continue for look ways to control their content, all in an effort to monetize their premium video.
Quality original digital TV series -- like “House of Cards” on Netflix or “Transparent” on Amazon -- may not be in the cards for YouTube yet. Still, the Journal says YouTube wants to up the quality of its existing on-air talent/video producers.
We have heard this before. YouTube has come up with a number of different business models to lure traditional and new video producers. But few have yielded breakout content with broad reach.
What would traditional TV producers say? It takes time, effort, and lots of trial and error -- TV development -- to see what works.