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Friday, February 02, 2007

Viacom to YouTube: Get rid of unauthorized clips

I'm not sure this news that Viacom wants all its unauthorized clips taken off of YouTube is earth-shattering; essentially, it's one giant "take-down" notice, requesting that any Viacom content that YouTube users have posted be removed. (Here's the Wall Street Journal coverage.) I don't think the 100,000 clips Viacom wants deleted from YouTube include the clips the company has posted itself.

Viacom and YouTube still haven't come to an agreement about how the media company will be compensated when videos that it has chosen to post are viewed. YouTube doesn't have the technology in place yet to either remove Viacom content posted by users or add it to Viacom's tally, and pay the company (once an agreement is reached) whether Sumner Redstone uploads a clip from "The Colbert Report" or little Billy Smith in Bozeman, Montana does. (Here's a clip of "Colbert" that has been seen more than 700,000 times, and was posted by just such a YouTube user.)

According to this piece in TV Week:

    "YouTube and Google retain all of the revenue generated from this practice, without extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the effort and cost to create it," Viacom said. "The recent addition of YouTube-served content to Google Video Search simply compounds the issue."

    Viacom said it hopes to come to a fair, authorized distribution model with YouTube and Google that will allow consumers to make its content available on all media platforms. YouTube has struck deals with some content owners to feature their content legally. In recent months, YouTube signed licensing deals with CBS, NBC, the National Hockey League, Universal Music Group, Sony BMG and Warner Bros.

I expect we'll see Viacom's authorized content stick around on YouTube, while the two continue to negotiate on a revenue-sharing deal. And I *know* that every media company feels the same way about unauthorized YouTube content.

Of course, this is only the latest skirmish between Viacom and YouTube.


  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3:19 AM  

  • Viacom would like to ignore (and have YouTube ignore) the fact that the exposure is good for Viacom's business. Les Moonves has already acknowledged this and I don't think anyone really believes otherwise.

    The potential cost of a negotiating ploy like this is that it could generate bad will for Viacom. However, so long as kids still want to see Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, I don't think they'll turn off the set just because they don't like the company that owns the show.

    So, I guess Viacom is smart to take this aggressive step in chasing a piece of the pie...I just wish I had a good argument against it. My gut tells me that the best strategy is to let consumers have what they want, but my brain can't always find the logic to back that up.

    Can someone tell me why Viacom is making a mistake? I welcome a good answer to that question.

    By Blogger Unknown, at 3:40 AM  

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