Confederacy of Dunces to Create a YouTube Killer


In an effort to establish a beachhead against the advance of YouTube, NBC Universal and News Corp announced their partnership to create a competitive video distribution product.

News Corp. and NBC Universal announced plans Thursday to launch a video distribution site this summer featuring thousands of hours of content from at least a dozen networks and two major film studios.

Time Warner Inc.'s AOL, Microsoft Corp., News Corp.'s MySpace and Yahoo Inc. will partner with the two companies to distribute the service to their users, who the companies say represent 96% of the U.S. Internet audience. More partners will be sought.

Specifics about the deal are very hard to come by. NBC CEO Zucker and News Corp COO Peter Chernin are giving very vaporous statements about advertising revenue being shared between the company, distribution partners, and content owners, calling the business model "state of the art". Someone will have to remind me what exactly is state of the art about a rev share on ads.

Similarly, there are no details being offered regarding the site's look and feel or functionality, with Chernin saying only that it will offer "complete Web 2.0 functionality" and that it will be like other "advanced, highly functional sites."

"Advanced" and "highly functional" you say?!?!! Now I'm excited!!!

They don't even have a name for the company yet, calling it "NewCo" for now. How about "BlandCom" or "VagueNet"? When will this revolutionary service be live? "Sometime this summer." Really great.


Those were my thoughts, too.

Those were my thoughts, too. Lots of talk, little action.

Tell me why I find it

Tell me why I find it humorous that someone would write, 'Lots of talk, little action' at a place that's all talk and no action? ; ) And of course they must be 'dunces' because they made an announcement. I didn't see 'Youtube Killer' mentioned anywhere in the article.


Youtube has no beachhead unless you think the content created by pimpled skaters with "look at me" clips is marketable (its was just smoke and mirrors to play the biz model).

Send it back to the mother ship, it's just another failure from the plex.

Not quite sure why the players who OWN and PROTECT things like "24" are called dunces, hosting videos isn't rocket science.

This was 'announced a few months ago'

This was announced a few months ago, collapsed under the weight of their legal departments.

Founder, this is new,

Founder, this is new, different players. Viacom is gone, seems they don't want to play nice with anyone.

Hardball, I think you really miss the boat on this, as does this project. Its cool to dismiss a giant segment of the online market and pretend they aren't sophisticated enough to have tastes or feel ownership/connection to a site but... they keep proving you wrong.

@ DG

And of course they must be 'dunces' because they made an announcement.

not because they made an announcement, but because they seem to have so little to back it up, and because old media circling the wagons to confront new media has not usually yielded stellar results. i.e.

the track record of major media companies working together to deal with this kind of viral attack on their business is not good. As Valleywag pointed out today, EMI, BMG, and Sony Music banded together in 1999 to deal with the Napster situation and created Musicnet, which was a dismal failure and was named by PC World as one of the worst tech products of all time.

the NBC / News Corp rival to youtube is being discussed by many people more intelligent than myself, such as the excerpt from arrington at techcrunch, above, and danny covers it at SEL as well.

Hardball, I think you really

Hardball, I think you really miss the boat on this, as does this project. Its cool to dismiss a giant segment of the online market and pretend they aren't sophisticated enough to have tastes or feel ownership/connection to a site but... they keep proving you wrong.

No dismissal of the market, it what it is. The content guys already have that "ownership/connection" with their viewers, they can only lose by sharing that love with gootube.

The kool-aid bearers really went overtime on this scuffle, declaring the death of media "dinosaurs", those dinos are still roaming the earth and they got some crunch.

One time:

NBC, et al. do not need google.

Yeah, you should sell your

Yeah, you should sell your magic beans to the newspapers as well... but hey, maybe they will start paying people to bitch about google... THEN YOU WILL BE SITTING ON A GOLD MINE!

magic beans

magic beans

show me the MONEY

youtube was just another magic trick to fool investors, the idea of a one channel internet (read GOOGLE) is ludicrous, content guys won't be paying (with cash or brand) the bridge troll forever.

Related: give the money back

How much did google promise

How much did google promise myspace for their ad deal? How much did google buy youtube for? And wow, youtube even lets other sites put safe content up that can be surrounded by more google ads, so you might have to triple or even quadruple that traffic that can have adsense around it... oh my! what a foolish deal done just to trick investors...

>> youtube was just another

>> youtube was just another magic trick to fool investors

I don't think you have any idea what the hell you are talking about. On what, exactly, do you base that assertion?

I'd suggest you go and 1) talk to some people who participated in the Video AdSense trial, and 2) look really hard at some sites running G Video ads.

It'll take a while for the program to ramp up, as advertisers and publishers work out how to produse and place the ads, but the numbers could be good. It might provide a decent channel in the content network, which is a weakness in G at the moment. Those ads may end up being the most profitable (for everyone) on the whole network - how is that "fooling investors"?

And that utterly ignores another major value of the acquisition - the data. Google have another major technical weakness in that they don't have strong "entanglement" with their users. They don't collect a lot of user data, and YT helps plug that gap. That has huge value that is hard to put a number on, since it may prove to be the difference between Google prospering and dying

I don't think you have any

I don't think you have any idea.. so goog spent 1.65 bil for video ad delivery?

You are a little mixed up here.

youtube is in legal limbo and you spend heavy cash? Only if its not YOUR cash.Shareholders got hosed. All the irrational exuberance surrounding a deal that is flakey suggests the need for a long koolaid detox for the cheerleaders.

Clear up the "legal components" and you might have something but the deal as it stands is as sketchy as they come.

>> youtube is in legal

>> youtube is in legal limbo

It's a bullshit suit. Viacom want more %age than G offered. It's negotiation-by-lawyer.

Firstly, this case will drag on for years... there's a decent chance that if they don't get a clue, Viacom will go bust by the time a final judgement is made

Secondly, suing for $1bn? Pocket change, almost irrelevant considering the size of the players involved (although maybe not by the time this eventually settles - Viacom may become a 1-lawsuit company), even if a judgement finally goes Viacoms way, for everything they asked (which is highly unlikely in my admittedly inexpert opinion - I think Google have enough doubt in the form of the DMCA "safe harbour" provisions to limit the damage even in the worst case)

Thirdly, and perhaps crucially, it's YT being sued, not Google. Google itself is not exposed, since they are simply shareholders of YT. If YT have some cash when a judgement finally arrives, that's all that's at risk

Look at what happened after the Viacom material got pulled - traffic to YT went UP 14%. That doesn't say to me that V have a strong position here, since none of the YT users seem to give a shit about their content.

What very few people seem to have caught onto is the the model has changed - big media, at least in its' existing incarnation, is dying. Being the copyright owner is pretty much worthless now, and if they don't learn the lesson and adapt, the Big Media outfits will die. It'll take a while, because they have inertia, and some residual value, but it'll happen nonetheless.

Viacom have excluded themselves from what looks like becoming the prime video / TV distribution network in the world. Do you think that's going to help them or hinder them in the long run?

>> Shareholders got hosed

I think G shareholders got a reasonable deal, because

1) I think the video ads will do amazingly well - I think they'll do $1bn in revenues / quarter not terribly long after their global rollout (4 - 5 quarters). That makes YT a decent deal financially

2) It places G as the dominant player in the video market - the value of which is unclear now, but I think may turn out to be equivalent to GoTos dominant status in the PPC market back in the day. A lot of people were complaing how worthless that was then, too

3) It supplies G with data that plugs a FUNDAMENTAL weakness in their core search product. I fail to see how 1% of their market cap can be a high price to pay for a purchase that may safeguard the long term viability of their flagship product. Personalised search seems to be the "next big thing" in organic search, and I think the board would have been negligent in not acquiring some sort of site with the kind of data that YT has.

You can argue whether YT was necessarily the RIGHT purchase, and the level of the payment, but as I said, what's 1% of market cap as an insurance against irrelevancy? Where, exactly, is the drawback?

>> It's a bullshit suit. All

>> It's a bullshit suit.

All good cons rest on the big lie.

That suit isn't bullshit, goog lost when it was filed. Without "tolerated use" and voluntary buy-in by the content producers the youtube model is junk.

>> Without "tolerated use"

>> Without "tolerated use" and voluntary buy-in by the content producers the youtube model is junk.

I can't tell you how strongly I disagree with that. I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this :)

I think the content producers are in over their heads, and just don't know it yet. Time will tell. I may be dead wrong, and Viacom et al really do hold all the cards - the evidence thus far just doesn't support it though, IMO

Viacom speaks

Will forcing Google and YouTube to obey the law stifle innovation? Quite the opposite. Intellectual property is worth $650 billion a year to the U.S. economy. Not only does intellectual property drive our exports, it's a key part of what distinguishes developed economies from developing ones. Protecting intellectual property spurs investment and thereby the creation of new technologies and creative entertainment.

Viacom speaks

>> The writer is general

>> The writer is general counsel of Viacom.

LOL, I think that article may be biased too...

Whether Big Media likes it or not, the current IP model is broken. They've had it their own way for too long, and the backlash is here. If they persist in their fantasy that content creators should retain any and all rights more or less in perpetuity, the market will shaft them, good and proper.

The original purpose of IP legislation was to allow the creators of new works both cultural and scientific to have a legal framework to demand fair payment for any use of their works. It's mutated into a system for media and pharmaceutical companies to rip off the rest of the world.

That is going to change, no matter what the IP holders think. US jurisdiction doesn't reach a lot of places in the world, so US laws will become irrelevant. There are already moves in the pharmaceutical sector that may render US patents more or less irrelevant - moves which have come about because US based pharm cos have proved too inflexible in their dealings with the rest of the world.

Here we have a large, US based IP holder thinking they can use their US legal muscle to retain a strong grip on their products. What if YT move to a legal jurisdiction that doesn't have a reciprocating IP treaty with the US? All that legal protection they *think* they've got becomes worthless. YT commences business as usual, and Viacom loses the last shred of control they have over their IP

Do you think users will stop using YT because it's legally based in some Eastern European country? I doubt it. Even worse, what if YT does truly drop Viacom content, and it turns out no-one damn well wanted it in the first place? Does that help Viacom somehow?

Also, remember that the legal traffic isn't necessarily one way. The YT case is on uncertain legal ground (again, open to argument), but the counter-suit is pretty solid - it's trivial to demonstrate that Viacom deliberately misrepresented their ownership of some of the content removed.

The "dunces" are signing ad

The "dunces" are signing ad deals sight unseen..

not bad for dinosaurs.

Advertisers have been wary of buying space on sites like YouTube because consumer-generated clips often contain objectionable content. That marketers signed on to the opportunity so readily underscores the importance of editorial adjacency for marketers.

Advertisers Line up at YouTube Killer's Door

back @ grasshopper

>>arrington at techcrunch, above, and danny covers it at SEL as well.

They didn't convince me either. Danny spent five dollars to add his two cents and Arrington's piece reads just like the slam piece it was intended to be. What exactly is it about Google that makes everyone think that anyone that competes with Google at any level at all must be 'dumb, stupid, a dunce', etc?

Google has its share of failures. Success demands some failures along the way. People sure seem to be less vitriolic when Google fails though. Even less so when Google announces that they are entering into competition. Froogle you say? Damn dunces. Checkout? Dumb asses are still getting their asses kicked by PayPal. Picasa? Dipshits. YouTube? Watch, upload and share copyrighted videos. Dolts.

If the argument is that

If the argument is that is going to be a serious rival to YT, then the addition of General Motors, E-surance and Royal Caribbean etc as advertisers isn't deeply surprising, I suppose.


1) No substantive details about the site yet. Whilst it's in all the partners best interests to launch quickly, it's going to be a high-tech site designed by commitee, and by a commitee of fairly non-tech savvy types at that. Oh and the pressure to launch will likely be incredible - does anyone think that will improve the quality of the initial offering?

2) The absolute requirement for any advertising platform is traffic. YT clearly has the lead in several ways at the moment

3) These contracts - are there minimums? Are they exclusive? Or are the advertisers just playing both sides to guarantee they have an in with whoever comes out on top? If YT can deliver the traffic, and ultimately the value, all these advertisers will swallow their "concerns" about the content they are advertised near. Looked at an MFA site recently?

>> Watch, upload and share copyrighted videos. Dolts

Maybe. A lot of the content isn't copyrighted. A lot of the technically copyrighted stuff is doing good work for the IP owner, and they are too damn dumb to realise it. Is a 10 second clip of an 18 month old show really going to cripple the owners monetisation plan? I doubt it. Is it is possible that it can act as free advertising, keeping the brand alive by more or less immortalising a strong cultural meme, that millions of people share? Maybe, but the current mindset of Big Media IP owners is that the 18 month old clip is every bit as bad a a full episode upload of a brand new show, minutes afetr it's first broadcast


I'll revisit this topic later today, but,

>>quality of the initial offering?

Quality? YouTube has quality?

Yep youtube has quality.

Yep youtube has quality. That is what people are missing. Kids are on the web now more than TV, they digest small bits of blurry content while they do other things, browse sites, chat with friends etc. To them it is quality content.

Think of it this way. When you were a kid, do you remember everyone talking about some 10 second clip from the local news? Or some event, commercial or even TV show? If you didn't see it when it played, you missed it. No longer, kids across the world can connect in and be hip instantly, they can all share in some guys in Vietnam singing into a camera, or girl falling on her butt. It is about the ease and speed of the shared experience. It is not about sitting in front of the computer for 30 minutes while a TV show plays.

They want the content fast, they don’t care about HD, they don’t care about fidelity, in fact those are negatives for the speed they can access the content. And just as we can scan/read emails faster than our parents because we are used to it, they can view crappy video and get it, they can see what is there.

There is room for both, but to think youtube isn't significant or a joke is to not understand the fundamental shift happening in younger generations.

>> Quality? YouTube has

>> Quality? YouTube has quality?

LOL, wasn't clear there. In a technical sense, yes YT has plenty of quality. The site runs whether you persoanlly like the content or not.

Given how terrible single corporate entities are at making functional websites, I shudder to think what the abortive bastard child of a COMMITEE of clueless corporate types is going to look like - if it ever gets whelped at all

It's not a question of

It's not a question of quality as much as where the masses will go. You Tube has the masses on it's side.

there is more than one mass

there's plenty of room for two YouTubes, if you look at comments there are two clear camps = one of "FU this sux and U R a tossa" types and another who get annoyed by them - basically exactly the same as every Web2.0 site which gets popular - so some decent marketing could likely pull one lot away.

THere's also the fickle factor which dictates that as soon as something is widely popular the cool guys want to go elsewhere. I do think at some point that will have an effect on a lot of the social sites which are booming at the moment.

There is No Fundamental Shft

>>fundamental shift happening in younger generations.

Just the same old attraction the 'younger' generation has for sophomoric humor. YouTube is a joke. An endless and constantly updated traveling salesman joke. But it is not innovative. It wasn't a new idea when it was created. It's not a huge technical challenge unless they actually address the copyright issues and at this stage, asserting that no one can compete with it is a bit of a stretch.

>>hip instantly

Odd thing about that. As soon as everyone is doing it, it is no longer hip.

YouTube killer? Viacom

YouTube killer? Viacom claims copyright of videos it doesn't own:

Google sits in the corner,

Google sits in the corner, time out for the wannabe content bandits.

Google-haters are flexing some muscle

CBS announced on Thursday that it was starting something called the CBS Interactive Audience Network. The Tiffany Network will distribute several of its hit shows, including “CSI,” ”Survivor” and ”The Late Show with David Letterman,” to a plethora – Jefe, would you say I have a plethora of pinatas? – of online video sites.

The list of partners reads like a veritable Who’s Who of important online video sites, including Time Warner’s (TWX) AOL, Microsoft’s (MSFT) MSN, CNET’s (CNET) and cable company Comcast (CMCSA), not to mention hot private online video and social networking companies like Brightcove, Veoh, Sling Media, Joost, Netvibes and Bebo. Time Warner, by the way, also owns and its AOL unit has invested in Brightcove.

What’s more, CBS went on to say that existing relationships with Apple’s (AAPL) iTunes, Amazon’s (AMZN) Unbox and Yahoo ”among many others” are also included in the deal. But nowhere is any mention made of either Google or YouTube…even though both Google Video and YouTube are also partners with CBS.

They might have have brains, they might have tech but at the end of the day you still have to play well with others or you go to the corner and put on the dunce cap.

Media Companies Via YouTube

It will get nasty. For instance youtube done a deal with BBC without both parties realising as subsidised service by uk taxpayers the BBC has no right to give away content to youtube. If deal involves an exchange of money even better, are BBC allowing viewing cheaper from youtube than to its licence payers. If so then the draconian license fee should be removed from all of the uk and if we choose to view there programs via youtube they can earn money that way.

I have to have a rant about BBC website

Ok its a great website why not sell adverts on it to reduce the liscence fee.

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