Let’s start with this fact: YouTube is the world’s largest video web site, with more than four billion streams every day. That’s “billion” with a “b.”
Reuters news agency, in its U.S. edition, reported on June 14th YouTube is considering selling subscriptions to access of some its video offerings, which could potentially provide a way for cable television channels to be available beyond the offerings of cable network providers.
Thomson Reuters, has a storied history of its own in the news business, and is the world’s largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available via Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms.
The original Reuters news agency was founded in 1851, and remains headquartered in London. Paul Julius Reuter began experimenting with a prototype news service in London in 1849, which used the highest level of technology of his day – electric telegraphy – and carrier pigeons to collect and disseminate news to customers. He also formed the Reuter’s Telegram Company to further take advantage of infrastructure and to sell another service.
In the United States, rivals such as Western Union were creating infrastructure (telegraph poles and stringing wire) and getting into the information business. Others would do the same, such as the fabled RCA, which also had a later telegraph service.
Any reader of this space today under the age of 50 most likely has no knowledge of Western Union’s original line of business, nor that RCA had a rival telegraph business. Today, Western Union is a shadow of itself after many corporate near-deaths and reorganizations, and is primarily a consumer money-moving service.
Across the pond in the United Kingdom, Reuters never lost focus or sight of the future, and adjusted its business model to fit current times. It has thrived, and remains a word giant.
Which brings us back to YouTube, a rousing success of a company, with hundreds of millions of users. Now, YouTube management is looking for a way to cash in on the brand name, popularity of the ease of use of YouTube, and is looking to the day when there will be new revenue streams.
YouTube is making sure it’s going to be the Reuters of the future, not the Western Union. YouTube users have become accustomed to free access, and, many will likely balk at paying for something they perceive should always be free. But, YouTube has the good sense to know once the door is opened to charging for even a small part of its service, then that door can’t be shut securely.
The most powerful conveyance of messages marry sight, voice, sound, and music and makes that product available anywhere, at any time. Just like YouTube.
Small country revolutionaries in the 20th Century used to always seize the local radio stations as they seized control of a country. In the future, the smart revolutionaries will simply put something on YouTube instead, and worry less about the radio stations. YouTube is the communicator of choice of the future.