Tuesday, October 10, 2006

GoogTube: Expanding to Consolidate

The New York Times reports on the USD 1.65 billion deal for Google's acquisition of YouTube, their largest deal to date and about triple the going price of MySpace's deal with News Corp. last year. We could talk about whether the price was worth it endlessly but at the end of the day this is a move to regain momentum in video markets, a factor that's oftentimes difficult to quantify based on the market value of an asset. Our earlier post picked up on many of the reasons for this deal that are being tossed around today, but another NY Times article is noteworthy in that it points out that this deal is in a backhand way to focus Google less on sprawling features-as-products development and more on finished services that provide a real benefit to an audience and that amplify the brand as a whole.

This may not mean a more Yahoo-like portal presence overall - the YouTube profile is as much about embedding content and features in other sites as it is about having a vibrant online community portal - but it may mean that Google will be focusing its development budget less on widgets that have no particular focus and more on making its library of features hang together as a coherent product base. Think Microsoft more than Yahoo as their bogie, a tool centered as much on creating content as on finding it. Unlike Microsoft's approach to coherency Google claims in the NYT that it will not be closing off their content in proprietary formats to lock up users into a particular platform, but will instead keep their interfaces open for users to punt their content wherever it suits them (though try getting content exported out of Blogger sometime - portability is easier said then done...).

What Google lacks in this mix is a coherent approach to rights management that could ease the burdens of monitoring the use of content by community posters in YouTube and in other services. If they can solve this nut to the satisfaction of both media companies and enterprises then they may in fact have a chance of being "king of all media." For now I guess that king of all online video and search will have to suffice.
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