Weekly Digital News Roundup: May 10-14
Could YouTube Become as Big as CBS or Viacom?
- According to Variety, within the next five years, Google’s YouTube could generate $15 billion or more in annual revenue — which would make it about the same size as CBS or Viacom, a Wall Street analyst predicts. The vidsite now streams 6 billion hours of video to more than 1 billion unique users per month across the globe. In the U.S., YouTube now reaches a bigger audience of adults 18-34 than any single TV network, global head of content Robert Kyncl said at Google’s YouTube Brandcast event this week, citing Nielsen analysis.
- “We think the odds are extremely high that YouTube will be a large, profitable and highly consequential business” in the next few years, Sanford Bernstein senior analyst Carlos Kirjner wrote in a research note Friday. “It is becoming an attractive and important medium for brand advertisers, and we think it will increasingly compete (with traditional media companies) for the incremental video-delivered brand advertising dollars.”
- This spring, YouTube is expected to launch a handful of subscription-based channels from premium content providers. That could represent another important revenue stream, in addition to YouTube’s ad sales. The site already offers pay-per-view streaming movies and TV shows from major studios and nets, though it’s not clear how significant that business is.
Facebook Said to Be in Talks With Mobile Map Service
- The New York Times reports that Facebook is in serious discussions to buy a leading mobile navigation service, Waze, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. If the sale is concluded, it would give Facebook the ability to better deliver locally tailored ads and content to its 1.1 billion users. Waze, which is based in Israel, has been talking to potential suitors for months, and the discussions are fluid.
- Maps have become a crucial battleground for big technology companies, including Google, Apple and Microsoft, as consumers rely more heavily on their cellphones and companies strive to deliver more location-based advertising and services. Waze, which has more than 40 million users globally, is unusual in that it relies primarily on GPS data and real-time information from its users, who contribute updates on traffic, routes and even where to buy cheap gasoline.
- Facebook has been trying a variety of strategies to increase the amount of time that its users spend on its site, particularly on mobile phones. Facebook and other social media companies are just beginning to wrestle with the challenges of effectively delivering local advertising to their customers.
How Messaging Apps Are Disrupting The Mobile Ecosystem
- According to Business Insider, depending on whom you ask, messaging is either the most important mobile phone feature or the second-most — after regular-old phone calls. Messaging, led by SMS texts, has grown to become a huge global industry and a revenue windfall for the world’s mobile carriers: $140 billion annually over the next three years.
- However, a new batch of companies are providing over-the-top (OTT) messaging services — services that send instant messages over the Internet and don’t depend on wireless cell networks. The OTT services are already causing big changes in the mobile industry. From Facebook’s Messenger service to Santa Clara, Calif.-based startup WhatsApp — which boasts 200 million monthly active users, more than Twitter, and Korea’s LINE, these players are some of the biggest crowd-draws in mobile. It’s not just carriers that are threatened, but legacy social media too.
- OTT instant messaging apps are enjoying phenomenal audience growth and message volume. Some back-of-the-envelope estimates have pegged WhatsApp revenues at $63 million. MessageMe, a new aspirant to the field of OTT messaging heavyweights, launched earlier this year and attracted a million users in less than two weeks. There’s a rush of developers and publishers scrambling to find their place in this market.