Is YouTube Screwed?Oct 22nd, 2007 | By James Lewin | Category: Internet TV, Streaming Video, Video
At GigaOm, Om Malik is starting to ask the same question we’ve been asking, now that big media is pulling its content off YouTube, developing their own video sites and ganging up to fight YouTube:
Is YouTube screwed?
“It is becoming increasingly obvious: Big media companies (content owners) are lining up against YouTube & Google, and are coming up with their own strategies for online video,” writes Malik. “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.”
Mainstream media has long had an uneasy relationship with YouTube. Now, it looks like big media’s plan is to:
- Yank their content off YouTube
- Gang up to fight for tighter copyright enforcement at user-generated media sites like YouTube
- Sue YouTube for billions
- Offer an alternative to the low-quality, poorly indexed content at YouTube
Malik thinks that it’s a mistake to try and compete with YouTube. “It is my belief that these companies are in the business of content, not distribution,” writes Malik.
The problem with Malik’s logic, though, is that on the Internet, publishing is distribution.
Podcasters and video podcasters know this. Andrew Baron and Cali Lewis and the Ask A Ninja guys know that they can publish a video in the morning and have a global audience by noon.
The media companies know this, too. They can make video destination sites, like the new Daily Show site, and know that the show’s fans will be glad they don’t have to wade through spam videos, bad parodies, foreign-language weirdness and lonelygirl15 to get to their Jon Stewart fix.
Big media knows, too, something else that indie podcasters have found out: there’s not much benefit in letting YouTube control your relationship with your audience. Bloggers want to control their relationship with readers, podcasters want to control their relationship with listeners, video podcasters want to control their relationship with viewers, and it’s not a surprise that traditional media wants to follow suit.
Big Media Is Gearing Up To Screw YouTube
It’s pretty clear that big media is gearing up to screw YouTube. It’s probably inevitable that the attention of Internet video fans will move from centralized portals like YouTube to finding video published all over the Web using video search sites. The big media companies see this coming and are going to try to speed the process along by gutting YouTube.
This doesn’t mean that big media’s decision to dump YouTube is without risk, though. While the Daily Show’s site is pretty cool, expect a lot of lame big media video sites until the industry builds some consensus about what makes a video site great. Expect Google to put a lot of its brainiacs to work, too, looking for ways to protect its billion-dollar plus investment in YouTube.
If big media really wants to screw YouTube, without screwing its audience, it will:
- publish more content to the Web, faster, than YouTube;
- publish video at a higher quality than YouTube;
- make it easier to find videos than at YouTube, by offering comprehensive search and indexing by things like year, episode titles, stars, topics, character names and famous lines;
- make embedded video as permanent as URLs – YouTube embeds are notoriously unreliable;
- control content and control the relationship with viewers, but not try to control viewers;
- offer ad-supported video-podcasts;
- use YouTube and other sites as promotional tools;
- use minimal, targeted advertising; and
- be patient while audiences build and advertisers move their budgets to the Internet.