Media Mogul Ribs Google Over Original YouTube Content

December 30, 2012

When can a $100 million investment be considered “cute”? When compared to an investment of billions, it seems. ReadWrite declares, “Time Warner CEO Thinks YouTube’s $100 Million Content Investment ‘Cute’.” At Business Insider’s recent Ignition conference, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes downplayed Google’s efforts, comparing them to his company’s $5 billion per year. D’oh!

Though Google‘s venture into original programming for YouTube has garnered a lot of attention in the tech community, big media players can be forgiven for seeing their investment as a paltry sum. Indeed, the coup Google is trying to pull off here would, upon close examination, seem nigh impossible. Writer Fruzsina Eördögh recalls the words of an anonymous “LA-based YouTube-centric executive”:

“This executive explained Google’s current funding comes out to ‘$1,000 a minute’ but ‘$1,000 a finished minute is not enough’ and requires you to pull ‘favors every time you do a shoot. If you’re just pulling a location permit in L.A., it’s going to cost you $900.’

“In order to produce the quality content Google wants – or at least quality the masses on YouTube want, the cost per minute needs to be ‘around $2,100,’ the exec said.

“To put things into even clearer perspective: Each episode of Showtime’s hit show Homeland costs $3 million to produce, roughly $50,000 a minute. Is Google really ready to compete with that?”

To which I submit, they very well might be! Google’s forte is finding novel ways of doing things. Sometimes their attempts work out, sometimes they don’t, but that try-it-and-perhaps-it-will-work spirit has elevated the company to its current lofty position. Google’s YouTube experiment might crash and burn, but it might also become a humongous success. Only time will tell.

Cynthia Murrell, December 30, 2012

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