OLD Media Moves

Kantrow: Blog beat papers in Google/YouTube talks

October 14, 2006

TheDeal.com executive editor Yvette Kantrow gives credit to Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch for being the first to report that there were talks between Google and YouTube. The two companies announced a $1.65 billion deal earlier this week.

Kantrow wrote, “Reports about a possible Google Inc.-YouTube Inc. hook-up first surfaced on Friday, Oct. 6, not in a newspaper or online news site, but in a Silicon Valley blog known as TechCrunch that’s less than two years old. The report, which TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington labeled a ‘Completely Unsubstantiated Google/YouTube Rumor,’ was quickly followed by the Web sites of, among others, The Michael ArringtonNew York Times and The Wall Street Journal, each of which confirmed the information through their own anonymous sources but dutifully credited TechCrunch for floating the idea first. Each paper then ran large stories in their Saturday print editions, again crediting TechCrunch, but also adding the requisite caveats about how talks can fall apart. But the talks kept going, and by Monday, Google and YouTube announced their deal, valued at $1.6 billion — the exact price TechCrunch had put on the transaction.

“To be sure, bloggers have been breaking stories in the nondeal world for what feels like an eternity now. But this is one of the first instances where they’ve entered M&A reporting, where scoops, at least during the last merger boom, were the coin of the realm. The idea that dealmakers could leak to their favorite newspaper reporters and negotiate where and when a story would run seems wholly out of date now; bloggers post information as soon as they get it and are well-plugged into the industries they cover. A lawyer-turned-entrepreneur, TechCrunch’s Arrington, for example, was dubbed ‘a go-to person for VCs and tech execs looking to leak corporate tidbits or announce news’ by Business 2.0 magazine.

“Indeed, in TechCrunch’s item on YouTube-Google, Arrington said he received an e-mail about the possible deal and that ‘[a] quick phone call to a VC confirmed that the rumor is circulating (he also confirmed the price), but that is far from confirmation that this deal is happening. I’m digging for more but the source on this one is very good.’ That’s more information on the newsgathering process than any paper is ever likely to provide — the media rarely likes to admit to even listening to rumors — and it certainly isn’t the norm with all bloggers.”

Read more here.

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