YouTube is like Kodak a century ago

All-outdoor invites your Kodak.

Advertisements for Eastman Kodak about a century ago illustrate Kodak developing the photography business.  Kodak sold photographic equipment and supplies.  To support that business, it encouraged photographic content creation: “Kodak as you go,” “Keep a Kodak story of the children, “Holidays are Kodak days,” “Scout with a Kodak“… . At the same time, Kodak also supported professional photography.

YouTube describes itself as a technology platform:

At YouTube, we’re focused on building a great technology platform for creators, and so we leave the actual creation of great videos to the people who do it best: our partners.

YouTube recently has been increasing its support for non-professional video creators.  YouTube also has attempted to license, in various ways and with mixed success, professional content.  Encouraging non-professionally produced content isn’t necessarily a strategic alternative to licensing professionally produced content.

Historically, photography developed broader economic success than writing.  YouTube is creating a business like Kodak’s a century ago.  The future of news and creative writing probably depends more on companies like WordPress than on companies like USA Today.

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