Originally published: March 7, 2011
Last updated: March 7, 2011 - 2:05pm
Once derided as Google's folly, the home of cheesy cat videos and the money-losing stepchild of an otherwise wildly profitable company, YouTube is emerging as a model for the more nimble, faster-paced company Google co-founder Larry Page hopes to foster as he takes the reins as CEO.
That's quite a shift. While YouTube was a cultural phenomenon when Google bought it in 2006, for years it was bleeding money -- losing nearly half a billion dollars as recently as 2009, by one estimate. And while YouTube wasn't Google's Siberia, it wasn't exactly a mecca for many ambitious Googlers. But now, YouTube's revenue has grown dramatically. Many Google employees increasingly see it as an attractive place to work, with a less bureaucratic environment that lets them run with their ideas. Page, by all accounts, is looking to inject that same energy into Google, spurring the mother company to innovate more quickly in its rivalry with fast-moving Facebook. YouTube is not trying to have less emphasis on video contributed by individuals; in fact, Kamangar said the site wants to make it even easier for people to upload video from their phones, wherever they are.
But YouTube is also now focusing on becoming a platform that could host hundreds of hyper-specialized channels that would appeal to the most specific of interests. Some YouTube channels, like Mystery Guitar Man, a sunglass-wearing maker of inventive music videos that have been viewed over 90 million times, already have several million subscribers.