Others at Google (NSDQ: GOOG) have more technologically complicated jobs, but David Eun, has one of the most difficult as VP of strategic partnerships: make YouTube profitable. Google bought the user-gen phenom for $1.65 billion back in 2006, just as it edged into deals with the major music labels and media companies. Three years later, YouTube is on the outs with Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) and UK music rights managers, is being sued by Viacom (NYSE: VIA) — at the same time as it has new significant deals with Disney (NYSE: DIS) for short-form including ABC and ESPN, Universal Music for VEVO, and, just announced, a BBC Worldwide renewal that includes full-length content. As for profit, analyst Spencer Wang estimates the site will lose nearly $500 million this year despite boosting revenues an estimated 20 percent to $240 million.
Eun and I spoke recently about outside estimates; the efforts to grow YouTube’s premium business; working with Hulu; plans to add revenue beyond advertising; and the role, if any, YouTube might play with plans by Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) and others to offer premium content online to pay TV subscribers. We continued the conversation by e-mail. In both formats, the very careful Eun steered away from financial details and a direct answer about profitability, but he managed some coloring between the lines. Below are some edited excerpts:
Staci D. Kramer: No matter how much attention you put on the premium efforts, it doesn