Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Viacom vs Google

I guess I'm late to add my thoughts on this, since yesterday's $1 billion dollar lawsuit filed by Viacom against YouTube for copyright. Viacom, the huge conglomerate that owns Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, and MTV, claims that over 160,000 clips have been uploaded with views totaling 1.5 billion. Wow! That's a lot of views. And I think that Viacom feels (and rightfully so) that they should have been paid for them. YouTubers speak out:

History repeats itself all the time. Not only with music but now also with film. Television and Radio came in the middle of the century and both the labels and studios opposed these heavily. Then came recorded media. The VHS tape ran into heavy opposition in the early 80's. Yet it became an incredible stream of revenue for the studios (including DVDs). Early this century the RIAA went after students that were downloading music via Napster and Kazaa. Downloaded music is the fastest growing medium by which consumers receive their music. Other revenue streams like satellite and Internet radio are waiting to be monetized as well. Movie studios see some of the benefit to the digital revolution and have embraced Amazon's Movie download service, MovieLink and other digital download services. So....this quick history lesson is showing that these new forms of interaction are GOOD for business and will not cannibalize profits ... as long as new ways of monetization are thought of.

CBS reported a spike in viewership after posting their clips to YouTube. But that's what they are ... clips. I believe that the online audience is still very different from the television viewing audience. Look at Vuguru and Lonelygirl and other successful serialized video. Would you ever see this content on television? I think that the studios should work together with this new medium instead of against it. There still will be a place for 3 hour Lord of the Rings type films, 46 minute Law and Order Episodes, and NOW there will be a home for the 90-300 second serialized show.

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