YouTube made two fascinating announcements recently: 1) viewers are now downloading an average of two billion videos per day on the service, and; 2) YouTube is almost showing a profit for Google, its owner. Think about the glorious inefficiency embodied in that latter statement: two billion downloads per day just to break even. And this is supposed to be the future of television? Hardly.
For me it was one of those zoom out moments where all of a sudden someone puts into perspective a number that’s come to seem pretty regular. Two billion is such a massive number (I assume he means streams, not downloads) and it is pretty amazing that it takes that sort of scale to make money in the game YouTube is in. I mean it’s great if they’re making some cash, but as Cringely points out, that’s pretty maddening.