Schmidt: YouTube Growth ‘Fundamental’

    March 9, 2007

As the debate continues about YouTube’s impact on Big Media, Google CEO Eric Schmidt made it quite clear where he falls on the issue: “The growth of YouTube, the growth of online, is so fundamental that these companies are going to be forced to work with and in the Internet.”

Never mind the copyright battles in which YouTube and several media corporations are embroiled – Schmidt is looking beyond that. “Eventually all of the copyrighted content will be available on virtually all of the sites,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg’s Jonathan Thaw.

Of course, CEOs are paid to be optimistic about their companies and products, so Schmidt’s words might be hard to accept at face value. But outside sources agree the man. Allen Weiner, a Gartner analyst, believes that “[a]ny smart-thinking media company is going to need to work with them.”

Want more evidence of YouTube’s worth (aside from its $1.65 billion price tag, of course)? CBS – which can, without any hesitation, be categorized as “old media” – recently named YouTube a “huge promotional vehicle,” as Thaw noted. And the BBC, which is another major content provider, recently signed a deal with Google’s pet.

That doesn’t mean that Schmidt, Google, and YouTube are expected to make any great advances in the near future, or that they believe there won’t be challenges. In an interview with Riva Richmond, Schmidt admitted that it could be hard to get traditionalists to accept YouTube’s value, saying “That’s often a difficult conversation.”

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