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YouTube, Coming Soon to Your Cell Phone

We’ve been hearing about the possibilities of YouTube pushing mobile for awhile. A few people we have talked with in the mobile industry have said that the company has been burning the midnight oil working on getting a mobile offering out as soon as possible. Now it looks like YouTube CEO Chad Hurley said at an advertising conference that the company hopes to “have something on a mobile device within the next year.” YouTube already offers uploading from video-enabled phones, but hasn’t released any other major mobile services to date.

YouTube’s mobile strategy remains unclear, but the company has options. The company could do a carrier deal and work within the carrier deck or go straight to consumer. The company has a relationship with Cingular, though it’s strictly marketing for now, but carriers are way more squeamish about copyright issues than YouTube’s recent acquirer Google. The company can build a WAP site and java client and go off deck — Google has often gone direct to consumer with mobile applications, though has been starting to do a few carrier deals more recently. Mobile YouTube on or off deck could actually dramatically grow wireless data usage, so the carriers will begrudgingly like them no matter what they do.

Already startups are creating sharing-services using mobile devices, like Juice Wireless and Veeker. Using standard MMS and video camera phone content, the technology is not that hard to create a service. Taking video clips in all their various forms and porting that to the endless amounts of mobile devices is where the complexity lies. Many of the mobile video sharing companies are focusing on a web interface first while trying to tackle a mobile interface.

Given Google’s recent $1.65 billion purchase of the company, there’s been a lot of speculation about what a Gootube mobile offering would look like. We’re not sure, but the combination could be pretty powerful.

17 Responses to “YouTube, Coming Soon to Your Cell Phone”

  1. This is an opportunity either for a huge corporation to throw unlimited resources to productive and hard working employees, to figure out ways to develop technology that will not require huge “pipes”.


    A genious broke inventor using what he has might figure out a solution to the bandwidth problem and he might dominate the whole market single handedly. (thus crippling all the huge corporations that have not figured out the solution.) Giving people what they want, COMPUTER ACCESS at the palm of your hand. That would be really awesome if I could do in a handset, what I can do currently with my home computer.

  2. Jesse,

    Unlimited Data means carriers are reduced to the level of bit haulers or fat pipes.

    A voice call is currently charged at an average of 4-6 cents per minute(including all unlimited eve & weekend plans) to get profits. A $19.99 unlimited plan means roughly 350-500 minutes. If I subscribe to $19.99 unlimited data plan and use a GPRS phone, and assume that I use it for 1 hour a day, that would mean 30 hours a month or 1800 minutes a month. I pay 19.99 means, wireless carrier gets 1 cent per each minute of network usage. 3-5 cents a minute loss to the carrier.

    And, why would I use just only for an hour when I have unlimited data plan?

  3. Jesse Kopelman

    murali, why would you think carriers don’t make money on unlimited data? In the US, at least, carriers only offer services that make money. They might be willing to take hits on handset subsidies for the sake of competition, but not on service revenues. If unlimited data plans weren’t profitable, they wouldn’t be offered.

  4. Androhair: Youtube is a really good idea but in the web video segment, I dont think spreading that mucho and investing in this technologies will be a productive thing for the company, maybe in the economic side could be but when specializing in web video, they still have a lot of department where to work, lets say having a more attractive website, giving the option to download the video but with a good quality and also showing them better…Lets se what happens

  5. I don’t think carrier will like this. No body is foolish enough to pay per KB when watching video on mobile. Carriers don’t make any money on Unlimited data. That also means, carriers will remain as fat pipes.

    Since YouTube mobile will directly compete with some of the IMS services carriers are dreaming to prove that they are more than fat pipes. YouTube mobile is going to make those IMS hyped up services dead before they are born. For consumers, good news is in the coming, that The Walled Garden is about to be opened up.