British Broadcaster: YouTube Is “Parasite,” Content Is King

Silicon Valley and Hollywood may be making nice these days, but relations between content creators and online distributors are hardly peachy keen. The breakups come about as often as the makeups, as demonstrated by NBC and iTunes patching things up last week and then continuing to talk smack about each other to the press. But today brought yet another verbal attack from the content side.

Technology companies like Google/YouTube and Joost are “parasites,” British broadcaster ITV Chairman Michael Grade said at the IBC technology conference in Amsterdam today. “The day that Google or Joost or any of these people start investing £1bn a year in UK content is the day I’ll start to be worried…They’re all parasites, they just live off our content is what they do. As long as we can create the content, the content is the keys (sic) to the castle for us going forward.”

ITV hasn’t exactly been doing well lately, with active talk of a buyout in progress. The company says it can make £150 million ($269 million) in online revenues by 2012, two years later than it had previously estimated. Meanwhile, it’s been reported that YouTube expects to make $200 million this year.

Grade said ITV compares favorably to tech companies because its content expertise has long-term value.

Personally, I think any media company that hopes to stick around needs to master both production and distribution, especially since some of the most interesting opportunities arise when you combine the two. Then again, starting out in technology before venturing into content hasn’t worked out especially well for anyone, either. So where do you think the staying power lies?


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