updated 11:45 am EDT, Mon August 21, 2006
Apple YouTube Possibility
Apple is one of the leading sellers of direct video downloads, but its current model depends primarily on commercial programming that limits the accessibility and desirability of playing videos on an iPod. A large collection of videos would be prohibitively expensive. Steve Jobs buying the video hosting service YouTube would change that situation dramatically, writes technologist Om Malik. It would let Apple tap into the user-created content increasingly commonplace amongst younger users and might also help the company take advantage of online ad revenue streams, which the company has largely ignored so far. Click through for more details and the Electronista perspective.
Malik attributes his recommendation in part due to YouTube's previously announced plans to host every music video possible. iPod users would be able to get both music videos as well as the amateur videos that dominate the YouTube site. The sheer volume of content (both free and paid) would be a lightning rod for video iPods in the same way that iTunes was an incentive for audio-only iPods in the past.
The Electronista perspective: Malik may have discovered a powerful new strategy for Apple: small screens on portable media players would be ideal for showing friends the short comedy and music clips they discovered on YouTube. Apple would face two major obstacles, however. It would first need to find a simple way to integrate YouTube with iTunes, such as through clicking a link that downloads the video and converts it to an iPod-ready format which then appears in iTunes. Copyright protection is also crucial to this concept: Apple would need to prevent YouTube from becoming a file-sharing tool for people who want to share illegal copies of television shows with their friends. There would need to be a clear distinction between official and unofficial content that helps buyers understand whether or not a new video is legally available for free.