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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Another YouTube Challenger ... Lionsgate Joins iTunes ... MySpace Intros a Media Blocking Tool (and more)

- Challenging YouTube is an incredibly tough challenge. YouTube is where people go to search for TV clips they missed, see videos their friends have made, and see what other people are watching. The latest start-up to announce it is taking on Goliath is Veoh, which officially comes out of beta today. From Dawn Chmielewski's piece in the LA Times: "Veoh seeks to differentiate itself with longer videos, high-quality pictures and sophisticated online publishing tools." One thing Veoh isn't yet offering: a way for video creators to get paid through advertising or paid downloads; that's still in the works.

- Lionsgate has added its older movies to iTunes, according to Variety. Why not new releases? Ben Fritz writes:

    ITunes' price for the download of new-release movies -- $12.99 the first week, $14.99 thereafter -- remains an impassable sticking point for all studios but Disney (in which Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the largest individual shareholder) since it requires a lower wholesale price than studios get for DVDs.

    ...Most studios are not yet willing to risk alienating retailers in the $25 billion DVD biz for the still nascent digital market.

- MySpace is introducing a new tool to let media companies block the uploading of unauthorized video clips, according to the NY Times. This will do two things:

    1. Frustrate users, especially if MySpace starts blocking clips that include, say, a snippet of a song or a short scene from a movie that would otherwise be protected under Fair Use.

    2. Keep MySpace from getting sued.

    3. Potentially enable MySpace to create a new revenue stream for media companies when their content is uploaded by users, funneling a trickle of advertising revenue to them.

- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is beefing up its Web site in the run-up to the Oscars on February 25th.

- MTV is laying off about 250 employees, in part to invest more in its "digital future," according to the NY Times.