As widely reported across the Internet, Youtube has been bought by Google for around $1.65bn.
But what are the pros and cons of this deal?
- Increased online streaming of movies/tv programmes — Google’s move towards providing Online streaming movies is increased. Youtube will probably be used as Google’s venture into that field and will cater towards TV programs and music videos. I believe Google will try to empthasise a more commerical outlaying to increase profits.
- Increased content — Not only from Google’s own video system, but from their contacts too.
- It made the co-creators very rich — And well done to them!
- Copyright Issues — A vast majority of the content on Youtube is either illegal or breaching some form of copyright. There have been many times that I’ve seen whole movies on there (I think it was Jackie Chan’s Police Story V), and whilst there haven’t been many suits against Youtube (mainly because they had no money), Google will try and ensure that Youtube is on the right side of the law.
- Advertising Revenue — Google has bought Youtube’s stock, they haven’t actually given the creators of Youtube real money. The reported $1.65bn is on paper. Youtube’s advertising revenue hasn’t reached the figures projected by many. Many analysts believe that Google will try to encourage advertising or broker commercial deals with major film and music studios to increase revenue. Google will push Youtube to increase advertising, and the co-creators won’t get their money until they can demonstrate that they can get a profit from Youtube. This may mean reducing the number of social movies that made Youtube the site it is today.
- Monopoly and privacy — Google’s increasing monopolisation of technology systems such as the Youtube’s of this world is worrying many web users. And it has been compared to that of Microsoft’s globalisation of technology systems, instead of innovation, it has bought the latest technology system. What does Google’s intend for the future of Youtube? How does it impact on it’s own video.google.com website? Will Google’s hunger for personal information be a factor in the revenue streams that they hope to generated from Youtube?
- Copycat websites — there are tons of Youtube-like websites out there. If fans of Youtube leave for a rival, that isn’t owned by Google then how will it affect Youtube? Will fans really leave a product they’ve liked for so long?
In the end, Youtube’s sale is great business for the co-owners and I personally wish them all the luck in the world. They deserve it. Youtube has succeeded because of its fans, not despite of them. Whether Google’s acquisition of Youtube is a good thing or not has yet to be answered, it will be interesting over the next few months to find out whether Google will step its authority on copyright issues, and whether fans will desert the system for a similar site?