Posted by: Jon Fine on October 9, 2006
Everyone should have seen this coming (excuse me, perhaps I also mean: Before late last week, I didn’t see this coming, either) because:
1. Like Google, YouTube is a company that started out with the idea of doing one thing very simply and very, very well. And like Google, it was not founded with a business model in mind, it was founded with functionality in mind.
2. Google is not a content company. This means there is less internal yukkiness there about YouTube’s raison d’etre; there won’t be divisional heads at Google who would be coming to company meetings with machetes held between their teeth to “greet” the new guys, as there may well have been at, say NBC or Viacom.
3. Double-underscore the non-content company commonality. Both Google and YouTube have thrived by espousing a very casual attitude towards the received wisdom about what you can and can’t do with content. As such they mesh with Web ethos on such matters perfectly (no surprise—they are two defining entites of the Web of right-now) in ways that traditional media companies and even someone like Yahoo never could.
And while we’re at it.
4. Insert joke about Facebook.
5. $1.65 billion for an unprofitable company. I will repeat: $1.65 billion for an unprofitable company that’s, like, a year old. I don’t know if anyone right now would pay $1.65 billion for the Los Angeles Times, which has been a dominant media player for decades and which last year pulled in around $220 million in profit.
6. Right now Tom Freston is totally thinking “well, at least Sumner can’t fire me over this.”