YouTube's 100 million videos: quantity vs. quality

YouTube: The buzz is so intense, it is almost as if the company reported $100 million in profits, or even $100 million in revenues, not “just


YouTube’s recent announcement that it now serves 100 million videos daily at its site was greeted with wide acclaim.

YouTube has also been the star of tech and media conference circuits, taking center stage at both the Allen & Co. Conference and the Always On Summit.

YouTube is now boasting a “rumored” $1 billion valuation.

The buzz is so intense, it is almost as if the company reported $100 million in profits, or even $100 million in revenues, not “just” 100 million in video views.

Chad Hurley, YouTube CEO and co-founder, acknowledged such is definitely not the case during his panel appearance at the AlwaysOn Stanford Summit.

Hurley reluctantly confirmed YouTube is not profitable, “not right now,” according to Mercury News reports.

Hurley also reiterates the "snack-sized" nature of the 100 million videos it reportedly serves daily. He says:

We are not trying to stream full-length programming. We have developed a new clip culture.

YouTube has indicated:

The site specializes in short—typically 2-minute—homemade, comic videos created by users. YouTube serves as a quick entertainment break.

What is the quality of YouTube’s snack-sized video content, however, and what is the value of YouTube’s “quick entertainment break” audience?

In “YouTube: the world's on-demand reality show” I discuss YouTube’s clip culture and compare YouTube content to reality show content:

While Andy Warhol famously said "In the future everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes," YouTube’s video stars are apparently encouraged to seek about five minutes of broadcast fame (five minutes which could be replayed endlessly, of course).

In addition to shorter attention spans than in Any Warhol’s day, current technology constraints impact YouTube’s “snack-sized” content.

According to YouTube:

How long can my video be?
Most videos on YouTube are under five minutes long. There is no specific length limit, but longer videos require more compression to fit in the 100MB size limit, and the quality will go down as the length of the video goes up.

How long will my video take to upload? Depending on your connection speed and the size of the video, it can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to upload a video. Generally, if you have a high-speed internet connection you can expect the upload to take somewhere between 1-5mins for every 1MB. However, the experience is different for every user because of the variation in connection speeds.

Is there a limit to how much I can upload? Currently, the only limit is 100MB and 10 minutes in length per video.

As YouTube seeks to monetize its enormous usage via advertising, how will the site promote the quality of its content to prospective advertisers and how will it “sell” the value of its audience?

MySpace boasts a user base of close to 100 million “friends,” but has not been able to fully monetize the “free-spirited,” uncontrolled content its friends post at their MySpace profiles.

In “Will new Google CPA ads and GBuy online payment system turn the Social Web into a marketplace?” I note the difficulties:

YouTube, MySpace, Facebook…are undoubtedly frustrated that their enviable user base assets are not generating commensurate financial returns. Efforts to increase monetization, however, are stymied by both advertiser and user resistance; Advertisers are wary of the uncontrolled environments and users are deemed to be keenly sensitive to corporate ‘infiltration’ and ready to bolt from the sites if they become unduly commercialized.

SEE ALSO: "YouTube, Digg, MySpace: How much is a non-paying 'user' worth?” and

"YouTube the video star: Act II"