Was the valuation of YouTube with or without the good stuff? Once you subtract clips from Comedy Central and other copyright holders who aren’t getting compensated for their work, what exactly is the value? Jason Calacanis has made this point in several forums. It’s much easier to build a popular Web property by using copyrighted material without compensating the holders of those copyrights. The economics are excellent. Quality content is free, you aggregate the audience around the content and attach ads to it. Big traffic means big advertising dollars. Once YouTube isn’t an omniscient TIVO and a dependable reference point for anything amusing distributed through broadcast television, what exactly is its value? Is it still $1.6 billion?
Traffic comes and traffic goes. Napster’s traffic dried up. YouTube’s may as well.