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Google's Web Win

Original programming for the Internet, done cheaply, is the hope of the future.

Download everything everywhere! That's today's headline, and it couldn't be more exciting. But is it lucrative? Does anyone make any money off anything, or is it all a loss-leader?

I always puzzle over this stuff because, in each case, the content is too expensive vs. what anyone will pay to download it... except

For example, I see


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wants to be bigger on the Internet. But what does that mean? Putting



Cold Case

on my cell phone? Having treasure hunts on

Without a Trace



that can only be answered online?

You will hear and read about all sorts of attempts to monetize every gadget and every program, but the only kind of model that works is where you don't have to pay for the hardware or the content:


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Once again, Google is the winner, except this time it is YouTube. For example, the


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deal today (in which it's reportedly in talks to distribute YouTube videos on cell phones and TVs) is my kind of deal. Google does nothing. You do all the work by doing a video; Verizon takes it and Google gets compensated.

It's just like what Google did to newspapers. It expropriates them. Google's like a Bolshevik! It takes the property of others and expropriates it for Google!

The only rival to this model out there is


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, where people are already so happy with going to that they are comfortable paying, so it isn't much of a chore. The Apple model works, too.

But the main sticking issue here is that the


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and the CBSes and the NBCs still

do not have their heart

in this game. They're still thinking about prime time and making big hits. They are concerned because big offline hits, even single episodes of hits, just totally dwarf anything that is done online. You can try to get additional runs online, but that cannibalizes reruns.

That's why original programming done for the Web, done cheaply, is the hope of the future.

That's YouTube.

That's Google.

Random musings:

I wonder if



hasn't gotten a bid because of the legacy of America Online and

Time Warner


. That colossally bad deal has kept a lot of good deals from being done.

At the time of publication, Cramer was long Yahoo!.

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