YouTube (NSDQ: GOOG) didn’t do a whole lot with a precious hour of airtime at CES 2012 on Thursday, reminding us all that video delivered over the web is poised to get even bigger than it already is yet offering very little about why YouTube is the place where Web video will explode.
The Google-owned cat video curator did serve up some interesting stats about the reach of Web video: YouTube and Google expect video to make up 90 percent of all Web traffic over the next few years, said Robert Kyncl, YouTube’s content leader. Kyncl’s site is now hosting 800 million viewers a month, and each month an incomprehensible 3 billion hours of video is watched on the site.
That is indeed impressive, but making money on that audience has proven trickier. After Kyncl rattled off a list of stats he yielded the stage to a panel of Web video producers and advertisers who got off a few good one-liners but didn’t say much that you wouldn’t hear at any similar industry panel: everyone agrees that Web video is big and will get bigger, but no one is quite sure how to take it to the next level to the point where it is truly disrupting broadcast, cable, and satellite content companies.
YouTube is certainly trying, helping content producers launch channels on its site and helping advertisers reach viewers, but it would have been nice for the company to make an industry really sit up and take notice with a big content deal, the kind of deal that makes people wonder why they still pay $100 a month for 10 channels they watch and 293 channels they don’t.