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Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, is barnstorming New York this week to assure traditional media companies that the internet search company’s $1.65bn (£889m) acquisition of YouTube, the video start-up, will not turn it into a content competitor.
Mr Schmidt met News Corp executives, including Rupert Murdoch, in Los Angeles this week. He was in New York to see executives from Time Warner, Viacom, CBS and other big content companies.
The Google chief stressed, in an interview with the Financial Times, that the YouTube purchase was intended to increase Google’s ability to distribute advertising and video on the internet. “We are not in the content business and partnerships really show the application of our advertising network to the content and media abilities of our partners. We want those partners to put their media content into this emergent [system].”
The driving force behind the decision to buy YouTube was Google’s belief that video is “one of the most important new media types on the internet”, he said.
News Corp, which bought MySpace, a social networking site, last year, is one of Google’s biggest media partners, having struck a search deal which guarantees $900m in payments over a number of years.
Critics of the YouTube purchase said it could expose Google to copyright lawsuits. Google and YouTube tried to cut this risk by signing deals with companies including CBS and Sony BMG, which allow for the distribution of videos on the basis of shared advertising revenues.