Video used to equate to television. It even had a "prime time." Now video is all the time, anytime. On a computer and beyond.
YouTube.com announced Monday that more than 2 billion videos are played every day on its site. That’s billion, with a "b." Every day.
On the surface, it’s a monumental achievement, as YouTube has only been around for five years. Digging deeper, the big question everyone asks about YouTube.com is, "Are they making money?" All those eyeballs watching video clips ranging from seconds-long to two-hour-plus movies must be worth something.
The short answer is: "Not sure." Google, which owns YouTube, isn’t talking, and the company’s revenue is not reported piece by piece. For the record, Google is making money. Lots of it.
Google on April 15 said first-quarter net income was $1.96 billion, or $6.06 per share, up from year-ago profit of $1.42 billion or $4.49 a share, a year earlier.
Revenue rose 22.9 percent to $6.77 billion from $5.51 billion.
Something to keep any eye on in the next 12 to 18 months is the trend of more Internet video being watched on the living room television instead of on laptops or office computers. More TVs are being sold as "Internet ready," meaning you don’t need a computer to stream video from the Web to your set. So, instead of people watching "prime time" programming, they can click over to YouTube and watch what amounts to "America’s Funniest Videos" on steroids.
One of the biggest innovations in video today is the time-shifting aspect. Thanks to all the video on-demand programming we have at our fingertips, prime time is any time. I know people who are hooked on certain programs. Ask them when the show is "on," and they’ll tell you, "Whenever we want to watch it."
Of course, people will also be watching video on their smartphones, tablet computers, netbooks, laptops, desktops and portable gaming gizmos. I found myself watching a commercial displayed on a gasoline pump the other day. I’m sure there’s a wristwatch somewhere with a YouTube channel on it. (And the guy who owns the watch probably isn’t named Dick Tracy.)
It won’t be long before YouTube reports 3 billion 4 billion or 5 billion daily video views. And yes, the secret to making money via online video will be discovered.