Thoughts from YouTube’s Chad Hurley

Mark Glaser over at the PBS blog MediaShift has posted an email exchange he recently had with Chad Hurley, one of the young Web 2.0 guns behind the massively popular YouTube, which just raised $8-million in a financing round led by Sequoia Capital. Not bad for a company that didn’t even exist a year ago, and has now become the go-to guy for viral video like the Lazy Sunday clip from SNL.

Interestingly enough, last time I looked at there was plenty of commentary about YouTube’s financial windfall, and plenty of posts about the legal minefield the company is wading through – with networks (including the one that runs SNL) asking it to remove copyrighted content, and so on – but hardly anyone had picked up on Mark’s interview with one of the guys who runs the joint.

And what he has to say is very illuminating. Will flame out and become just another Web 2.0 bubble exhibit? Perhaps. But Chad seems to have his head where the action is – in fact, he sounds a lot like my new friend Jeff Pulver, who was talking excitedly about micro-content and video over IP at VON Canada. Says Chad:

“Our vision is to build the next-generation platform for serving media worldwide. It is the birth of a new clip culture. There is a complete shift happening in digital media entertainment and users are now in control of what they watch and when they watch it. At YouTube, we are seeing an evolution of entertainment and media distribution — where the audience is now in control more than ever.”

I said it about Napster and Morpheus and Kazaa, and I’ll say it about YouTube – all those executives with the lawsuits and the cease and/or desist orders should spend a little more money trying to figure out how to use YouTube and a little less money filing writs with the court. Chad is right and they are wrong. It’s as simple as that. (Bonus feature: For some clues about what YouTube might be able to offer as a premium service, check the comments on Mark’s post).

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