Welcome back to Insider Weekly! I’m Matt Turner, co-editor-in-chief of business at Insider.
YouTube is a $1 trillion tech giant you likely rarely think about. That’s deliberate.
The video giant, part of the tech behemoth Alphabet, has a global audience that watches more than 1 billion hours’ worth of videos every day. In the first half of this year, it booked $13 billion in revenue. As a standalone company, it would be worth $1 trillion, according to one analyst.
And yet, while Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and the Alphabet boss Sundar Pichai have faced grillings on Capitol Hill, the YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki has kept herself and her media empire out of the spotlight.
In their story this week, Hugh Langley and Rob Price talked to insiders about how YouTube really operates, how Wojcicki has been able to skirt scrutiny, and whether it can last. Read on to get the inside story on their reporting.
Also in this week’s newsletter:
- More and more Gen Zers want to work remotely. But that means they have to learn how to become adults over Zoom.
- The TV-streaming era is upon us, and television players want to sell their shows to the biggest platforms. Netflix isn’t their No. 1 pick.
- People are worrying about Zillow. These home listings help explain why.
Let me know what you think of all our stories at email@example.com
How YouTube has avoided the scrutiny facing Facebook
Hugh Langley and Rob Price take us behind the scenes of their reporting on how Susan Wojcicki built YouTube into a juggernaut.
What prompted you to start looking into YouTube at this moment in Big Tech?
Rob: YouTube is fascinating because it has 2 billion users, but it’s often left out of the conversation around social media and Big Tech entirely. Almost uniquely of major tech leaders, CEO Susan Wojcicki has never testified before Congress. We wanted to understand how she’s managed that and how YouTube really makes decisions.
How did you two tackle reporting on this story together?
Hugh: We started by sketching out the general contours of the story and the questions we wanted answered. We then spoke to dozens of people – employees, creators, external stakeholders. The reporting was always evolving, but we had a lot of communication through the process – and a lot of spreadsheets.
What was one of the most surprising things you uncovered in your reporting?
Rob: One thing that really struck me is how much of YouTube’s essential infrastructure for making decisions on policy came into being relatively late in its existence. It was only in 2017 – after a major advertiser boycott – that it launched its internal policy council for making decisions about controversial content, as well as an internal blacklist of terrorist groups and other dangerous individuals.
What should readers take away from this report?
Hugh: One big takeaway is the tricky balancing act Susan is pulling off. The other is YouTube’s reach. We all know that billions of people use YouTube, but it also has an outsized influence on other platforms such as Facebook. That makes stamping out harmful content an even bigger responsibility.
Read the full report: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki built a $1 trillion video empire by skirting scrutiny and not acting like Facebook.
- For more on YouTube: Leaked org charts reveal the 49 most important people at YouTube who run the $1 trillion Google-owned video platform
The pandemic has pushed office life out the door, and Gen Zers are ready to work remotely forever. But a great deal of how people grow, mature, and learn to deal with interpersonal challenges has historically happened in the workplace.
As our senior correspondent Rebecca Knight reports, young people will now have to learn how to become adults over Zoom.
People used to grow up on the job. Here’s what happens now.
TV players want to sell their shows to streaming giants
The launch of new streaming services has shaken up Hollywood’s hierarchy of top TV buyers. According to entertainment-industry insiders, HBO is the creative holy grail for pros – surpassing Netflix and others as the most desired TV-show landing spot.
Creators who sell to HBO know they’ll get a promotional and awards push, though Apple TV+ does have the draw of A-list stars. Disney, Netflix, and Hulu have their own attributes, too.
18 TV players reveal where they want to sell their shows – and why.
Zillow has paused homebuying for the rest of the year, leading some to speculate about its algorithm. Insider dug into fewer than 100 listings and found 30 homes Zillow was selling for less than it paid.
These five homes it purchased explain what’s happening.
More of this week’s top reads:
- Black founders and execs in Silicon Valley are investing in themselves to create change and diversify the startup landscape.
- Rolling Stone’s new editor-in-chief aims to revamp the storied publication. But first, he’ll have to address its diversity issues.
- Blackstone has a secret weapon to scout for hot tech deals: its own engineers.
- Crypto seems like nonsense. But lots of people keep getting rich from it. So am I the dumb one?
- Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 donors have their eyes set on 2024. They’re prepping for a post-Biden era campaign against VP Harris.
- There’s been a turning point in the Elizabeth Holmes trial. The prosecution produced a smoking gun.
Sponsored event invite: We are in the midst of the Great Resignation. Join us November 4 at 12 p.m. ET. for a virtual event presented by Facebook Workplace to learn about building effective hybrid cultures, workflow transformation, and more. Register here.
Compiled with help from Phil Rosen.
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