Irrational Exuberance 2.0?

From one of my favorite tech blogs TechCrunch comes news that internet video site YouTube has announced it’s serving up 100 million videos a day.

First the article tries to determine why YouTube has attracted such a large group of users – citing one stat that 60% of the videos streamed on the web come form YouTube.

How did this happen? Being an early mover into MySpace via embeded flash may have helped.

The social features, recently added by Google Video as well, could be a winning combination.

The smart branding via a catchy URL, simple as it sounds, may have helped as well.

Partnerships with NBC and a variety of other content producers may have helped – though these are most likely a consequence of the site’s popularity far more than a cause of it.

It’s hard to say just why YouTube has caught on and other services have not.

It just might be that YouTube is simple, easy, works well enough and people like it – there may be no more mystery than that.

Yes – all that and IT’S FREE!

While the most popular videos on YouTube are viewed thousands of times – not a single one of the producers of those videos could afford to stream that content to that many people on their own.

So the article also rightfully questions where YouTube’s ultimate business is.

A key question that remains unanswered of course is whether the service will succeed financially.

Forbes estimated that bandwidth costs were approaching $1 million per month in April, when YouTube was reported to have been seeing 12.9 million unique visitors per month (March).

Three months later that number is reported to be approaching 20 million unique visitors per month.

The bandwidth problem is the single largest issue with the current internet – for every new user you attract – your costs go up.

As much of an advocate for Web 2.0 and the attitudes it brings that I am – I can’t help but fear the ultimate lessons of emerging Social Media like YouTube will be reduced to the next iteration of

Bubble 2.0?

UPDATE:  Via MicroPursuasion comes this link to a story about Broadcast TV seeing it’s lowest ratings ever.

Even with TV in the “summer” off season you can’t help see the drift away from appointment mass media to on demand ME media.


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