YouTube’s head of monetization, Shashi Seth, has now left the company to become the chief revenue officer of Menlo Park, Calif.-based startup Cooliris.
Despite being the largest video-sharing web site, YouTube is still finding it hard to make money. My sources say that YouTube made around $80 million in 2007, a number that could grow by more than 50 percent this year to around $125 million. A Bear Stearns report estimated YouTube revenues at around $90 million for 2008. I’m not sure if $120 million-$125 million is going to make Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who has been publicly talking about YouTube and its money-making potential, happy.
What stands between YouTube and money is the lawsuit by Viacom, as it makes owners of legitimate content a tad nervous.
It’s true that the Viacom suit is a major issue. But I don’t think it’s the only one. I think looming even larger is the culture inside Google, one that does not support traditional approaches to supporting brand marketing. In other words, YouTube is a very large branded media play inside a massive engineering/direct response machine. YouTube is a major conversational media platform. But unlike MySpace, which reports into a media culture at Newscorp (Rupert Murdoch made this point at D last week), YouTube reports into a technology culture. I think it makes a difference.
The company Shashi is going to looks like a competitor to Microsoft’s Photosynth and Silverlight (not directly, but it looks like a market implementation of those two technologies). It just announced a deal with YouTube. Interesting!
One thought on “Google’s Brand Champ at YouTube Off to Greener Pastures”
It will get interesting if Google can crack contextual advertising in video. If they can populate the bottom of the screen with Google Adwords ads relevant to the audio stream they can attach the Adwords firehose to the biggest video library in the world. That would be something…. Personally, I think the reason we haven’t seen much movement yet is precisely because they have been working on getting this technology (similar to Autonomy’s Virage) absolutely right. That might explain why Google’s Zeitgeist event in Europe last month was so focussed on video.