28 September 2006

Let's See, I Could Either Title This Post, "It Takes One to Know One" or "I Know You Are, But What Am I?"

(via Drudge)

Reuters headline

Mark Cuban is usually an idiot. His HDNet will be a big failure and he lucked into his broadcast.com fortune. With that said he's partially correct. YouTube isn't like other previous popular internet properties. It does have a huge cloud hanging over it, and a deep pockets owner would be exposed to an endless round of lawsuits.

That's why I think a possible way out of this would be if a consortium of media concerns agreed to operate YouTube collectively. Use directed advertising like the little google links that pop up in gmail, but make them 10-15 second commercials that are attached to the beginning of videos. Make them content sensitive, and charge based on where the content came from. If the content being shown is from your own company, you get to advertise free. If another one of the conglomerates wants to attach an ad for one of their products then charge a tiny fee. Leave the way YouTube works alone.

YouTube only enhances the value of the content owned by the media conglomerates. It's proved over and over again, just look at the success Fox News Sunday enjoyed by not fighting their clip spreading by YouTube. FoxNews.com had a different idea about this, but the big boss came down on the side of letting YouTube provide free advertising rather than forcing those that want the content to have to visit Foxnews.com.

By making YouTube a neutral playing field, and recognizing it as such, it would be a valuable commodity to all the big media players as a signal to which content is valued and which isn't. If people love what they see on YouTube, advertise there, point to a higher quality download or DVD they can purchase, and watch the profits increase.

Kill this, and watch more folks become turned off by media companies in general and seek spending their free time engaged elsewhere.

Mark Cuban is correct that the current approach to copyright would kill this site if one of the big media players try to buy YouTube and the others then decide to jealously guard their content. But if they want to act in their collective self interest, they'll let this site flourish as is. They should think of it as free market research rather than a copyright infringer's paradise.

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