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December 10, 2006

Topic Summary & A Network Sponsored Rival to Youtube?

This is a very conveniently timed news story, because we can use this story to sum up the developments in the "marketing on social network sites" topic while we attack the article. Hooray!

An extremely recent article out of Asia reports that multiple entertainment networks, including Fox, Viacom, CBS, and NBC want to cooperate to create an alternative to youtube.

The reasoning behind the deal, apparently, is so that these networks can cash in on advertisements that prior to this point youtube would take a cut of. In light of the developments to the topic over the semester, it seems as though this has some benefits, but suffers from drawbacks that are surprisingly not seen by the networks.

We can start with the good - viral video is where it's at right now on the internet. Youtube is getting millions of hits, google video is doing alright (though I still have no idea how they're positioning themselves seeing as though they own youtube also), and the networks are latching onto this. We blogged about a week ago about how CBS is really benefitting from creating their own channel on the service, in fact.

But we've already done a bunch of entries on why youtube is good for these groups so I'll skip to the bad.

First - how the hell do these networks expect to be able to work together? They represent 4 of the 5 top entertainment entities in the world (with ABC absent - which might not be a terrible idea) and as they normally compete for viewers and clicks, it is insane to believe that they'll be able to completely figure out the revenue-sharing aspect of this deal without a huge problem.

Second - youtube is not this incredibly ridiculous concept that required 1000 of the brightest individuals in the world to come up with. It is online video. It is popular because of a few reasons -
1) Minimalism
2) EVERYONE has flash - no messy codecs to install (I'm looking at you, Mpeg4)
3) Users can upload anything they want.

So you're taking away 3 - fine, CBS' channel is already very popular, so it's not a big deal. 1 and 2 though... How hard can 1 and 2 be to replicate? Honestly? With minimal HTML skills, someone like me could create a tasteful alternative to youtube, well branded (for a specific network), ad-supported, etc. Basically all the things that youtube has with the added benefit of being completely contained on the network's specific server with their logos.

Up to this point, I'd thought that the networks' websites were far too complicated to navigate and the videos too varied, codec-wise, to be enjoyed by everyone. Is this why networks are flocking to some other youtube-type service? I can't imagine why else they would be, seeing as though they already offer a lot of this stuff on their own websites.

Now, one of the first things we blogged about was the fact that the NHL partnered with google video (and subsequently youtube) in an effort to get content out to as many people as possible. NHL.com exists, so why would they want to branch out?

Because youtube had already established itself as a great place for short clips. Highlights, like that sick Alexander Ovechkin goal I posted earlier, were youtube's forte. NHL.com has an outstanding video viewer in its own right (if you don't use a Mac - it uses Windows Media) but it is more of a databank of game clips that aren't easily accessible one at a time.

NBC, for example, would be much better served to put its clips up on its own site, with its own branding, with its own ads, with no mention of any other networks, and frankly, I can't understand why that is such a foreign concept to them.

Posted by moday at December 10, 2006 10:48 PM

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