The first thing that I thought today was how strange it was that Mark Cuban had been calling Google “moronic” for thinking of buying YouTube. I don’t imagine that he was telling Tim Koogle that he was “crazy,” for buying his company, Broadcast.com, a company that Yahoo! would spend the next several years dismantling.
Mark’s definitely asking the right question as to whether this is a good deal for YouTube or not. After all, Broadcast.com, which arguably was more of a “real business,” (they had corporate customers, after all), wasn’t making any money and still got $5 billion. YouTube probably should have held out for a lot more money.
Ah, but those were bubble times and everyone thought that the future would come more quickly than it did. Who could have imagined that streaming video would suck so much? Aside – can you pause Real, QT or WMV streaming without waiting for 2+ mins for it to restart yet?
While the YouTube acquisition is similar to Yahoo!’s acquisition of Broadcast.com, I think there are two key differences. First, the iPod (and to a certain degree, the cell phone). Everyone has one (or both) and short form video excels on these devices. I know you can’t carry these YT videos around easily yet, but it’s coming.
Second, and more importantly, is the Class of 2009. If you live anywhere near teenagers, you may have noticed that there are a lot of them. The Class of 2009 (and the years surrounding them) is the largest graduating class in American history. These kids are already powering a lot of Web 2.0. They have always had a computer in their home and they probably can barely remember not being connected to the internet.
Google’s acquisition of YouTube is part of their bet on this upcoming generation of creators. It has taken us a long time, but we’re finally getting people off their butts and making them into content producers not just consumers. Mark Cuban helped lay the groundwork for this revolution and instead of pedantically nitpicking from the side lines, he should be cheering them on.
Now, let’s just hope they find a business model. :-)