Traditionally a broadcast network would be a world of transmitters or cable infrastructure, but revenues and views might make YouTube a broadcast network. At least that’s Broadcast Engineering’s question although there it’s framed as a competitor.
Speaking of billions, currently available statistics indicate YouTube now streams more than 4 billion online videos each day, and over 4 billion hours of video are watched. In a staggering statistic, for calendar year 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views.
Google does not break out revenue across its product lines, but analysts predict YouTube’s revenue at $3.6 billion and a net of $2.4 billion for 2012. This year, in addition to cable networks’ and broadcast networks’ annual upfront presentations to woo advertisers, Google and YouTube also held an upfront. They pitched additional new entertainment channels coming to YouTube including: TeamUSA, the official channel of the U.S. Olympic Committee, with original content; WIGS, a scripted drama series channel focused on women with such famed stars as Virginia Madsden, Jennifer Garner and Alfred Molina; and The Picture Show, a channel for web series and short films to be produced by Robert DiNiro’s Tribeca Enterprises.
A broadcast network probably gets 50 million or so “views” a day across a single range of programming; cable networks somewhat smaller. YouTube has, effectively, many millions of “channels” beyond those official entertainment offerings.
YouTube, like a network, is also commissioning new material.
And any network would be happy with the revenue and net return. So is YouTube a Broadcast Network? Not in the classic sense but quite likely in the future sense of what a network broadcaster might be: an aggregator and/or enabler, not a gatekeeper.