YouTube has not won anything

Reposted from old site – original date: Monday 6 May 2013

This is a response to Eric Schmidt’s claim that YouTube has won the battle against TV before it started.

See article at

Firstly, what battle? Secondly, YouTube has won nothing, especially in Africa. Where it counts by the way. Why does that count? I’ll give you a billion reasons.
Let us disambiguate some of the statements.

  1. YouTube cannot even be compared to linear TV, so that whole argument is marketing troll, or stupidity. We’ll call it trolling for now.
  2. What I [b]think[/b] Schmidt was thinking when he uttered this nonsense, is that the new way of doing TV is Video On Demand (VOD)
  3. YouTube as a service provider, with paid for VOD, [b]could[/b] be a player, sometime in the near future.
  4. YouTube has a very long way to go before they are a serious contender in the space.
  5. Anyone paying USD for TV services in Africa is going to have a bad time.

Let me explain a bit more. People are used to using YouTube for 10 minute clips. There will have to be a major mindset change in user interaction to change that behaviour.
Most folks view YouTube clips on PC or small screen devices and have pretty much no idea how to consume YouTube video in any other way. People in Africa, still are familiar with opening browser tabs, loading 3 videos overnight (buffering) and then playing them hours or even a day later. This may not be the case everywhere, of course, but I have seen this recently in my travels. People that consume YouTube occasionally via HTPC systems like XBMC are few and far between, certainly not the majority, and certainly want to see that in 1080i/p at least resolution, requiring a faster than 4Mb/s ADSL line (very expensve).

As an ADSL subscriber with a 4Mb/s line, I can tell you that (with discounts), it is more expensive than a Premium DStv package (includes Transactional VOD service).

On the other hand, we have TV. Let’s forget linear TV, because that is last season, for sure. People want the VOD style, “I want to watch this now”. What needs to happen is that we focus on getting cheaper devices into every home and make VOD services available to more people. This is currently happening (check DStv’s website for new packages) and with my own daily work, there are many more very good things in the pipeline…

If YouTube think that this is an easy task, they have a lot of surprises coming.


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