The Google-YouTube conundrum

Mark Cuban · June 11, 2009 · Short URL:

What happens when and if Google stops subsidizing user-generated video?

 You have a video that you want to post on the Web. It may be just for you. It could be for friends. It could be for family. It could be for a company or a political campaign. It could a video that you want seen by as many people as possible.  Regardless of your audience expectations, do you have any expectation of paying for that video to be hosted?  Of course you don’t. Neither does anyone else.

The reality is that all of us have the expectation of being able to post any and every video on sites like YouTube for free, with no limitation on audience size or location. 

We have reached the point where YouTube, in particular Google specifically, is subsidizing the majority of user-generated content on the web.  20gbs PER MINUTE upload and who knows how much for viewing

Which leads to the question, what happens if they stopped subsidizing the cost of bandwidth for user uploaded video ?

What would happen to Internet video ? What would happen to social media ? What would happen to the future of entertainment ? What would happen to the future of politics ?  How would it change how we use the internet ? The list of questions is a mile long. Would it be the best thing to ever happen to traditional media ?  Hence the conundrum.

The next question of course is “why would Google stop subsidizing the uploading, hosting and presentation of 80% of the user-generated online videos (excluding commercial sites) viewed in the US?”

The answer of course is : Because they had to. 

There are two certainties for the technology business in the US.  The first is that every leader falls out of the lead at some point. The second is that every leader falling out of the lead gets torched by Wall Street and places a premium on stock price over free services and their users. 

Google has already established itself as a hall of famer. But nothing lasts forever in techland. Particularly subsidies.  What happens to the Internet and how we use it  when those subsidies end  is a country song that will eventually be written.

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