Big Media vs. YouTube & Google: Smart or Not?

23 Comments

[qi:032] It is becoming increasingly obvious: Big media companies (content owners) are lining up against YouTube & Google (GOOG), and are coming up with their own strategies for online video. Today, NBC (GE) confirmed to NewTeeVee that it pulled its content off YouTube in a shift towards its own service, a joint venture with News Corp. (NWS) called Hulu.

Last week, after Google launched a new way to identify and prevent copyright infringement, a newly formed coalition said it had come up with its own anti-piracy proposals. There is a clearly fear of Google on the part of large content companies, while at the same time, a desire to build their own online video properties.

It is no surprise that NBC, Viacom (VIA) and others are taking this inward-looking approach. For decades they have married their content to their distribution channels via traditional cable and satellite television. Their approach is merely an extension of that paradigm — though one I don’t necessarily agree with.

It is my belief that these companies are in the business of content, not distribution. Offering their content on their own properties may give them a lift in terms of page views, but at the same time they also run the risk of losing the audience that simply seeks out such content on sites such as YouTube. (I am not even going to touch the fact that this will be yet another place where we will go looking for videos.)

My opinions aside, what do you think? Take our poll, or leave your comments.

23 Comments

Todd

I think NBC & News will exceed all expectations with Hulu. Hulu is a direct to consumer marketer of quality video (lead by Kilar who learned how to do this successfully with Amazon) that will be partnered with a company that no one has heard of but would be considered a leader in direct to consumer marketing over multiple platforms. It brings something to Hulu that GooTube can not easily match (at least not for less than a few billion dollars).

Jeff Zucker recently said (of lessons learned with NBCi) that the world would be very different if they had more patience with Snap. Guess what…portions of the NBCi/Snap/Xoom play are about to resurface with in partnership with a new name: Hulu…

John Feeney

Nice to see your readership is more on top of the subject than others. This chain of events should not come as a shock to anyone. Control has always been the issue.

As Scott G stated:”…built on illegally copyrighted material.” That’s the bottom line. What this will bring forward is whether users will seek out “other” sites, an if these content providers actually start producing “REAL” valued content or just open the vault libraries.

The value of YouTube, creation of a platform many hope to “Copy”. An independent source where new creative ideas can be displayed. Or as the music business calls it “Indie” artist.

The fight will not be over content but advertisement dollars. We’ll go from a few outlets to hundreds overnight, the sources will be selling “visitor profiles” to ad sources. An with that loose focus again on content development, they have already proved that path with TV. Maybe a couple of hit comedies but thats it…

YouTube may bend a little addressing Copy Right material, they should. By only Google understands their audience, NBC never did.

Scott G

There are a great many talented folks outside of the so-called mainstream media making some quality video content. But for the most part, what most people expect and likely will continue to desire consuming involves more effort.

Large scale content owners investing big to create quality programming certainly don’t want to be beholden to any single distribution method. It completely skews the value equation. In the evolution of the Internet ecosystem it may be the case that content producers are lagging in tech savvy and wisdom. This doesn’t mean that what is today novelty will be tomorrow’s reality. Too many pundits – in my opinion – have trouble recognizing fad for trend, or the latest and greatest vs. what creates something sustainable.

One way or another, content producers will figure out how to make their dollars off of their efforts. And they can do so just fine without putting up everything, or even much of anything, on YouTube. Now, I like YouTube. I do. But, YouTube, after all, was essentially built on illegally copyrighted material. Yes, of course, there’s all kinds of User Generated stuff, but let’s get real. A ton of the stuff people go for is just the same popular stuff people watch on TV. It’s just that they had nowhere to get it. it’s likely true that YouTube will continue to prosper, and that’s good. It has value. But…

GooTube faces a simple childhood problem. “When you’re King of the Hill, everyone tries to knock you off.” I think today’s add-on to that might be, “When you try to be King of Others’ Hills using their own dirt to build your hill, they REALLY want to try to knock you off.”

Andrew Z

I think Pierre makes a good point. While the media producers want control as demonstrated by their attempts to do it all in house, the ultimate battle is to come. That battle is the physical quality of content and further audience fragmentation.

Online video sites will most likely balkanize viewers as low end viewers will continue to look for established content online while those with more money will settle into their world of HDTV, VoD, and continued DVD purchases. That means broadcast TV viewership will further plummet while on demand (whether online, through personal property or cable distributed) programming will increase.

Gootube will remain a viable outlet for discovering new acts, but the question above concerns established players with big money.

Pierre

Video content is king however it’s all in the presentation  you see youtube provide a niche market of viewers while television is competing with the internet. You tube cannot compete quality wise with High Definition content and most cable providers are in the internet distribution business as well as video productions. Big Media may be slow in modernizing but will not lay down and die.

Jeremy Penston

This is not the end-game. It is a power-play in the evolution of online video where the media companies are vying for control, not only over Google but against each other too.

At its heart, YouTube is a video search and promotion engine. If you are a relatively unknown producer, you need search to help people find you, but Big Media have their own way of reaching the people by promoting their wares on air.

The cost of the promotion service that YouTube provides is control over some of the adverts that are wrapped around your programming and control over your audience. Remember that to a large extent Google and Big Media are competing for the same ad dollars.

Perhaps Big Media can afford to sacrifice some of the potential volume to keep Google under a semblance of control. Without quality content from Big Media, Google is weaker… Even a withdrawl for a limited period of time helps Big Media’s negotiating position against the Big G.

Short term pain for long term gain? If (quality) content is king, then perhaps the mediaco wins this little skirmish and emerges with better terms from distributors. If distribution is king then to some extent it is a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Rich Pearson

I chose “Share and Grow” in the poll, but it’s pretty easy to see why “Big Media” rejected Google’s Video Id. Here are 3 reasons why it was rejected, based on our conversations with content owners (disclaimer that I work for Attributor, a company providing content monitoring services)
1)Content owners don’t want to send Google all their content so Google can build their video index for free. Google is great at monetizing content, but they have a conflict of interest in fulfilling a monitoring role – this needs to be done by an independent entity.
2)Content owners want a web wide solution. Agreeing to Google’s solution sets a precedent with the video hosting sites that is costly (especially for small content owners) and a logistical nightmare that leads to the inevitable whack-a-mole.
3) Google’s offer to give content owners a share of advertising revenue is a great step towards ‘grow and share’, but it’s self serving and ultimately inflexible. Big Media needs the flexibility to wrap their own ads around their content – ads that can packaged with all their properties, not as a one-off where they have little control.

The best news coming out of the separate Google and “Big Media” announcements is the implication that the DMCA process is failing and the industry needs to find its own solution, rather than rely on litigation. This is a major shift and one that is a prerequisite for the online economy to flourish.

Kevin Gamble

CBS has got it totally right. They are the model. NBC, et al are making a shortsighted and stupid decision.

I’ll be looking forward to seeing the heads roll in time.

dhiren

I think NBC should do what they do best, run TV.Historically if any Tech firm has gotten in arms of media giant they go away(exception of MySpace) however I see that goin down in a year(or 2 years max).

Anonymous

They had some of the most viewed content on the site and poof, in one felt sweep, it was all taken away. Of course, it’s still out there on the internets, but it’s no longer aggregated in my YouTube account.

The single lesson this has taught me is if I really love a video on YouTube et. al, I should download it for future viewing.

By the way, this is why drm & subscription services scare the hell out of me. I’d have a mental breakdown if all my music simply vanished.

Erik

Video is a lot different than newspapers. The reasons newspapers are dying is their big revenue stream was classifieds, not because people are pirating their content. Video has no such local revenue dependency and translates very easily online. The NBCs of the world make good content that people want to see. Yes, people want to see it where and when they want, but NBC doesn’t need Google to make that happen. Web video distribution is not hard. I don’t see any value that YouTube creates for big media, not matter how much hot air comes out of Schmidt’s mouth. If GooTube is THE video aggregator then really they just create value for themselves, but they need big media to give them their content if they want to be THE aggregator. The content creators are starting to get a clue so that is not going to happen.

greencapitalist

Look, these guys need to face the reality.

The content is shifting from tv/newspaper to online media and then in 5 years to mobile devices (gphone, iphone, etc).

The way iphone has started, RIMM is pushing ahead and gphone potentially changing the game – the content will be in users hand most of the time and in his living room for very less time.

These guys need to wake up and smell the cheese asap and benefit from it.

Or they can sit tight and see their business crumble around them just the way newspaper business is unraveling right now.

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