What does the future hold for YouTube? Nobody knows

September 19, 2006 at 4:27 pm Leave a comment

Microsoft today announced beta availability of its video-sharing service, Soapbox – described by Good Morning Silicon Valley as “exactly what you’d expect from a Microsoft service — late to market, imitative and uninspired.” Of course, that’s not necessarily going to stop it from being successful. There is also a whole host of other wannabe YouTubes, including Google, Yahoo!, MySpace, Revver and VideoEgg.

Earlier this week, Mark Cuban predicted “the coming dramatic decline of YouTube.” Seeing real parallels with Napster, Mark thinks that YouTube is going to get clobbered by copyright owners any day now. As Matt Marshall of VentureBeat put it: “If you read the comments on Cuban’s blog, you will see that outright confusion prevails about YouTube’s prospects.”

Sure, YouTube has first-mover-advantage and brand recognition, but we only have to look at what happened to NetScape to know that’s not enough. With its Warner Music deal, YouTube is heading in the right direction – although details of how it will actually work are scarce. Other content owners such as Universal Music Group have yet to decide whether to sue YouTube or join it.

Why is this market suddenly so hot? According to Matt Marshall, “it is where movies, music and advertising meet — and billions are at stake.” Nobody knows which way the wind will blow for YouTube, but everyone’s going to be watching.

QUICK UPDATE: YouTube has just announced a promotion with Good Morning America and Cingular to find the best unsigned bands. TechCrunch described the move as “stylistically antiquated” and a step toward the gentrification of YouTube. Is YouTube losing its hipster edge already?

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Entry filed under: Web 2.0.

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