During an afternoon PC Forum discussion about "me media," Chad Hurley, CEO of YouTube, talked about what's going the popular video sharing site, which he said is now serving 30 million videos a day and uploading 30,000 files a day. Hurley said that the site has about 5 million unique users per day. Nielsen/NetRatings clocked YouTube at 9 million unique users in February. The startup has also gained a lot of publicity for receiving supeonas and requests to remove copyrighted material uploaded to its site. Sequoia Capital invested in $3.5 million in October 2005.
Chad Hurley and Steve Chen of YouTube
YouTube is a great example of how a site started with a simple idea, sharing video content in this case, is undergoing a transition to becoming a real company, meaning it will have a business model that stands a chance of giving investors a return on investment and avoids the pain of incurring high legal costs from angry copyright holders.
In this transition, we are solving a personal problem for people but finding we can leverage what we have done to help professional owners with short form content. We are working with copyright issues and working with studios, lnetworks and labels to deal with problems [of copyright]. Hurley said one approach is limiting clips to 10 minutes. "We see the power in leveraging it, having people engage with the content, and driving them back to television," Hurley said. Users browse clips and comment on them--we give them a taste and drive them back to [TV, theatres, etc.]watch more movies."
So far, YouTube is looking at various options for revenue generation, such as contextual ads. "We are sensitive to serving ads because we are building a community. We could do sponsorships and promotions," Hurley said. "We are adapting to the transition from personal solutions to the professional side." Some studios and ad agencies are seeding their content on YouTube (a Scary Movie 4 clip was uploaded by the studio in concert with their ad agency, and Newscorop uploaded a new Simpsons episode). "They want to remain viral and organic, and don't want to make it look professional and produced," said marketing manager Julie Supan.
Hurley also said that YouTube is in "discussions" with the networks, studios and labels, and would have some announcements shortly.