Michael Grade: YouTube is a ‘parasite’

ITV executive chairman Michael Grade had some pretty strong things to say about YouTube and services of its ilk at IBC this week, calling YouTube a “parasite”, Grade stressed his belief that ITV has a long-term future.

So why is YouTube a parasite, and how come there’s a future for television? In truth, like everything else, the secret is content, the executive explained. YouTube’s success is based on living off content created by broadcasters including ITV Grade maintains.

“The day that Google or Joost or any of these people start investing £1bn a year in UK content is the day I’ll start to be worried,” he said.

“They’re all parasites, they just live off our content is what they do. As long as we can create the content, the content is the keys to the castle for us going forward,” he added, as reported by the Guardian.

And it gets bettter, Grade also said: “People who keep writing the obituaries for existing broadcasters ignore one thing – they are people who are in love with technology and distribution mechanisms – that the history of the modern media age is littered with (the) casualties of people who believed in technology rather than content.”

We think Grade is articulating what is precisely the point – content itself is the driver for success, online or off it. We’d also like to warn that publishers in multiple media have been seduced by the revolution in content distribution which enables them to repurpose, distribute and develop content on a budget, but they reduce their investment in content origination at a high level of risk to their own business.

As media becomes more diverse, content, and focus on niche areas, will become ever more important.

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