YouTube has never made money. Despite the top 3 videos on YouTube having well over 3 billion viewers, hosting millions of other (some viral, some ignored) clips and bringing in over a billion users per-month, YouTube can’t generate enough revenue to pay its employees and keep the doors open on its own. Why?
An easy answer is that the infrastructure that makes Google’s video empire possible (and all youtube’s video content partners), is not free as in beer or information. All the bandwidth used for watching high school kids ghost ride their parents cars, the server and datacenter infrastructure, video storage (think billions of GB of storage), transcoding (think millions and millions of hours of transcoding), and related video services has always required Google to have a revenue stream from YouTube besides “advertising” which they haven’t built out. I remember talking about this in 2007: how can youtube possibly sustain itself? Well, it doesn’t need to.16 karma points