I like to try out the following statement on people to gauge their reaction: "Youtube is the most valuable media property ever created." Some people laugh, others pause for a moment before starting to argue with me. I do not think the statement is far wrong. According to some measures, Youtube captures 20% of all web traffic daily. And all of those eyeballs get served with a large helping of ads. What do you think most young people find more exciting, Youtube or network television?
To my point, NPR ran a story today in which a teenage girl was interviewed. Youtube is her main source for discovering new music. She did not refer to Youtube as a "video website" but rather as a "search engine" for finding music. Oh, and she never, ever pays for music. Youtube is probably more valuable than the entire music industry right now for this reason, among others. Anecdotal evidence, to be sure, but this isn't the first time I thought this about Youtube. Why? Because it is also my number one source for discovering and listening to music.
Compare this with Pandora and Spotify, darlings of internet radio, both of whom are struggling to make a profit because no one wants to pay for their services.
And Youtube is not just music, of course. Want to see an interview with Dean Martin from 1969? A clip from the 1975 World Series? Footage of an A-10 in combat over Afghanistan? Where are you going to go? And each day, the density of videos on Youtube increases. Microsoft and other companies are trying to nibble into Google's main search product. But is there any competitor for Youtube? No, because the barrier to entry is growing with each video posted. And it will keep growing...