I asked the people on my upcoming panel if they had any questions. The last one: Will Google buy YouTube? Yesterday’s chatter was all about the Tribune publisher being pushed out; today folks are agog about the rumor that Google is in talks to acquire YouTube for $1.6 billion. You never know and this could turn out to be the real thing but I can safely say that if we wrote about it every time we hear a company is interested in YouTube we’d be doing that and Facebook non-stop.
As luck would have it, Mark Cuban, who recently made waves by suggesting only a moron would buy YouTube, is the afternoon keynote here. We talked beforehand and I’ll post about that later. He’s up on the podium now, Diet Cokes at hand, fielding questions in a straight q-and-a session. The first came from the NYTCO’s Vivian Schiller, who introduced him and kicked off with a Google-YouTube question. His response: “The minute that acquisition took place YouTube couldn’t be YouTube.”
Update: Before the session, Cuban and I talkd about YouTube, Google and more. Some excerpts:
YouTube: Cuban: “The value right now is the traffic. They don’t really have any original technology. … It’s a nice little hosting environment. It’s 1999 — give away stuff for free — free hosting, don’t encforce copyright laws — Napster, and people will beat a path your website. Is that valuable? I don’t think it is … maybe somebody else does. Google’s got more traffic than anybody. What do they need to buy traffic? They need easily monetizable trafffic. Now there’s an argument that could be easily made that Google is not really delivering a whole of video streams … a whole lot of video downloads, and expanding what they do in terms of AdSense and ad delivery in front of videos, there’s a great argument to be made. But buying the headache?” Cuban brought up Google’s first foray into video, which was derailed partly by unauthorized use of network content.
— More from Jeff Jarvis and ONA’s Catherine Andrews.