A few comments on Google + YouTube:
- Cheap for Google – and paid for with stock. There’s no likely downside unless YouTube gets sued into oblivion; but that seems unlikely now that major content providers seem to recognize its value in promoting their products. At a minimum, Google has gotten itself a high-traffic site with which to extend its advertising platform.
- Long-term, the prospects for YouTube are unclear. If it moves towards the iTunes model of paid-for content, much of its wild appeal will be lost. It has a fickle audience and might not sustain its popularity.
- Google’s business is advertising; yet it continually experiments with other roles: provider of hosted applications, internet bank, media giant. It has an unsettling lack of direction.
- There are all sorts of possibilities in this tie-up: a true competitor to iTunes? a major broadcasting platform? the evolution of web advertising? Equally, it may turn out to be rather unimportant. Too soon to say.