So YouTube has begun to show off its profitability — what happens next?All the microcosms surrounding YouTube are starting to get rich as well. It’s like the remora fish living off bigger sharks in that sense. The latest to strike it rich is Tubular, a company that specializes in analytics for the Google-owned video aggregate. Their latest round of venture capital-hunting has netted them a decent $2.6 million.
That is small potatoes compared with what YouTube and its offshoots are capable of, according to Rich Heitzmann, co-founder of FirstMark Capital, one of the chief participants in funding Tubular’s money grab. “We think the ecosystem is at least the size of Facebook’s, considering it has a billion users and if you consider the time spent on YouTube,” Heitzmann said.
Rob Gabel, a former Machinima employee (a company who benefitted greatly from some serious capital investments) and current founder of Tubular, agreed with Heitzmann’s assessment. “If YouTube is a multibillion-dollar market, then that’s billions of dollars going out to content creators who can then invest that again.” I guess get them ducats while you can, kids.
Tubular, it should be noted before we get too much further with this whole thing, is not to be confused with the upstart little website that could, Tubalr, which I profiled earlier in the month. That company was a YouTube offshoot specializing in streaming music videos; Tubular is a YouTube offshoot specializing in counting views for music videos. No, that other guy is still independent and shit-ass poor.
With the way YouTube is expanding to become a more established and polished web entity, there is certainly a lot of opportunity for other companies to bask in its glow and for venture capitalists to throw money at new ideas the way they did in the early 90s. I guess what I am saying is that sites like Facebook and YouTube have become sort of microcosms to the very internet’s macrocosm. And when the internet first became relevant, we made a big money mistake that stung the economy pretty bad. I would hate to see that one big mistake that was the dot com bust replicated, only this time in several fractured little pieces. The Facebook IPO was just a hint at how foolishly wound up our investors (or our parent’s investments) are in all these “unsinkable” companies.
“Everything is a bit of gamble,” Gabal says, “but I feel good gambling on YouTube and online video.” Maybe this is that moment where I am that guy walking away from Steve Jobs’ garage, calling him and his “computer-ma-jig” a “fool’s folly.” Time will tell.