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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Viacom Slaps YouTube

Sunday, February 04, 2007

has ordered YouTube to take down tons of its material. Jeff Jarvis of Buzz Machine thinks it's a foolish move (most of his readers disagree). NPH tends to agree with Jarvis that, even though much of Viacom content (like "The Daily Show" with John Stewart) is available on Comedy Central's website for free, YouTube is the great communal gathering place for media content, so much so that free content probably works as promotion for paid content. In other words, find John Stewart on YouTube, then go watch more on Comedy Central's website, then watch it on TV.

The opposite view, obviously, is that it's theft.

The fundamental issue this all boils down to is advertising. It's what all television ultimately boils down to, because it's ultimately what television is for: to advertise. Viacom doesn't want people viewing its material in a way that gets them no ad revenue. Their content is free on their own websites, which are loaded with paid advertising content (NPH's experience with Comedy Central's website has always been slooooooow due to all the ad content). Yet young people particularly are gravitating to content that ostensibly doesn't bombard them with product promotions. But without that, networks have no revenue stream.

NPH has long made use of a tool called "Who Owns What" run by the Columbia Journalism Review. Here's the entry for Viacom, which includes all of their television networks and film studios. The summary of the company reads like this:
One of the largest global media empires, Viacom has a financial interest in broadcast and cable television, radio, Internet, book publishing, and film production and distribution. Some of this vertically integrated conglomerate's highly recognizable properties include the CBS network, MTV, Infinity broadcasting, Simon & Schuster, Blockbuster and Paramount Pictures. With such a diverse portfolio of properties, Viacom is one of the most profitable media giants as CBS is a top draw for older viewers while MTV remains the most popular teen orientated media outlet.
Its' content may be teen oriented, but its delivery method just took a step in the opposite direction.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 4:17 AM

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