A lot of people have been talking and writing about the recent purchase of Youtube for $1.3 Billion – yes, that’s with a “B.” But what did they actually get for their money? Yes, it’s the number one video downloading site, and this past summer, it actually past network television for downloaders vs. viewers. But the site also has some things that don’t work so well, and after all, they don’t bring in a penny – yet.
Lee Gomes, writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, sees trouble for media companies who don’t “get” what’s happening at Youtube:
“A better long-term approach for media companies might be to get their viewers out of the recently acquired habit of going to a third party, like YouTube, for their entertainment. Instead, viewers like me should have as their first impulse to check the show’s Web site, where our visit can be monetized via advertising just as though we had watched the program on “real” TV.
Getting viewers into that habit means taking video streaming more seriously than many media companies now seem to. YouTube walked the walk with Web videos, spending a considerable amount of time and money on servers and bandwidth to quickly show users their requested videos, though the quality of the image still left much to be desired. By contrast, the video on the Web sites for many media companies seems to be just a pretty ornament that doesn’t function particularly well, because the media companies don’t seem to have the incentive to make it work.
No wonder people prefer YouTube.”
Ultimately, it isn’t about technology. Gomes continues:
“With YouTube, though, the company isn’t getting any technology to speak of; in fact, YouTube users will probably notice an improvement in coming months in some of the secondary parts of the site, like mail and messaging, which were known for their occasional hiccups and downright outages.”
The value, Gomes insists is in the brand name. The value of the brand relationship that Youtube has created with its audience is remarkable. Just like “Google” has become a verb – you don’t “search” anymore, you “google,” Youtube is becoming the same to video downloading.
What’s the value of your brand? Whether you’re trying to become known personally, sell a product, or promote an organization, the value of the brand is far greater than the product itself, what you actually do, or what you’ve accomplished.
Never underestimate the power or the value of a strong brand.