To millions of people worldwide, "Gangnam Style" is a raging YouTube meme that continues to gather momentum. But to Larry Page, the chief executive of Google Inc., it was "the future."
Page, in addressing Wall Street analysts on Thursday's Google earnings conference call, pointed to "Gangnam Style" as an example of the future.
"Just flip a switch and get worldwide distribution, almost without doing any work," Page said. "That's how we see the future. YouTube is going to be available everywhere."
As of Thursday afternoon, the video from Korean rapper PSY had racked up 482.3 million views. That's not counting the dozens of videos that have spawned from the original, including one in which PSY teaches Britney Spears how to dance "Gangnam Style" on "The Ellen Show," which drew 36.4 million views. Another video produced by the dancing inmates of a prison in the Philippines had more than 4 million views on YouTube. Even the crew at Universal Music Group's New York office broke out their video cameras and started to get jiggy with the Gangnam.
Page made the observation about "Gangnam Style," which he referred to as "that horse dancing video," even as Google's stock was bucking and rearing on Wall Street.
The company accidentally released its third quarter earnings a few hours ahead of schedule and before the stock market closed, causing its shares to tumble $60.49, or 8%, to close at $695 Thursday. Although revenue grew 45% to $14.1 billion in the quarter, net income fell 20% to $2.18 billion.
But if Page is correct, videos such as "Gangnam Style" could come riding to the rescue as the Silicon Valley technology giant gets better at making money from content. This is especially true on mobile platforms, which has more than tripled as a source of revenue for Google. The company now generates $8 billion a year, on an annual run-rate basis, on its mobile platforms, up from $2.5 billion last year.
Part of the increase comes from adding commerce to its mobile offerings via downloads of music, videos and games on from its Google Play store. But Google Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette pointed out that "the vast majority" of Google's mobile revenue continues to come from search advertising.