News: Just when I criticized U.S. shows for being slow to freely disseminate their clips online like they do in Korea, CBS has launched its channel on YouTube with short clips from a select number of CBS shows, including Letterman. (More here) Here’s one of the clips launched by CBS under the provocative, if not desperate, title, “NCIS catfight.”
News: Here are a couple good articles detailing some of the less publicized history of YouTube, including its initial attraction of viewers through an iPod give-away and the deep connections to PayPal.
Kristin Edelhauser, msnbc, Watching YouTube
Miguel Helft, NYT, It Pays to Have Pals in Silicon Valley
News: Wall Street Journal writer Lee Gomes has an excellent article discussing how “YouTube is now a verb and an adjective“–great title!
For those still questioning the YouTube-Google deal, this is a must read. One key point: “Instead, Google is getting an awesome brand name, and the eyeballs that come with it. It’s one of the ironies of the current Internet that success is often uncorrelated with a company’s R&D budget or the number of programmers on its staff. As proven with social networking sites such as MySpace, what makes for success is often being in the right place at exactly the time that a particular fad breaks your way.”
Analysis: The grammatical discussion of “YouTube” as a verb and an adjective provides nice symbolism of how pervasive YouTube has seeped into everyday culture. Gomes is exactly right that a bunch of other sites do exactly what YouTube does, but without YouTube’s success in attracting users. Being the First Mover in a space is always an advantage, particularly if you do it well.
Gomes also makes a good point in questioning why major copyright holders are failing to capitalize on the video craze right now. In my last post, I discussed how South Korean shows freely disseminate clips of their programs on the Internet. Why aren’t NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox exploring that marketing strategy more aggressively?
News: GigaOm has an excellent post today examining the advanced state of broadband and video file sharing in South Korea. Google’s planning on investing $10 million in R&D in Korea. Here’s the most impressive part:
“For years, Korean television viewers have been able to watch their favorite shows online. The shows are offered not by a third party like the Apple iTunes Store or Google Video, but by the TV companies themselves, who provide complete archives of their shows that can be downloaded or streamed, either for free or for pennies.
“In Korea, online video is not an experiment—it is a success. It is a daily reality for most Koreans, not just for the young crowd or the techie set. The entire society has lived the broadband lifestyle for a while now, and is more attuned to its potential.”
Analysis: Putting free copyrighted shows online probably is heretical in the U.S., given the current practices of major copyright holders in the U.S. While chatting with a friend, I once suggested that owners of really old copyrighted shows that are never played any more should put them online for free, or with some modest deal with a site like YouTube. What Korean copyright holders are already doing with recently copyrighted shows is pretty amazing.
News: Universal Music filed a copyright lawsuit in the Central District of California against video sharing sites Grouper and Bolt. Grouper has been acquired by Sony Pictures Entertainment, while Bolt is a private company. As Reuters reported, “According to online audience measurement firm comScore, Bolt.com had 8.1 million unique visitors in August while Grouper had just 1.8 million visitors. YouTube had 72.1 million visitors in the same month.”
On its site, Bolt announced: “We have been notified today that Universal Music has filed a lawsuit against Bolt because our members upload videos which may contain their musicians’ copyrighted videos. We understand the love you have for your favorite musical artists, but Bolt respects the rights of copyright owners such as Universal Music and their artists, and we ask that you please do so as well by not uploading their videos to Bolt. You can still watch your favorite music videos by visiting your favorite bands websites. Bear with us – we hope to sort this out soon!”
Analysis: Universal struck a deal with YouTube on the day it was acquired with Google. Now, Universal is going after two smaller fries in the video file sharing world. Both Bolt and Grouper have DMCA notice-and-take down policies (see here and here). It will be interesting to see if the case gets to trial, or the parties decide to settle.