YouTube vs Viacom: A missed chance for television

Google Watch – Google Lawsuits – Google Sings the Copyright Infringement Blues

“First, Google last Friday filed a statement in a Manhattan district court challenging Viacom’s more than one-year-old, $1 billion copyright infringement suit versus Google’s YouTube video-sharing Web site.

The gist: Viacom is tired of its MTV and Comedy Central content running on YouTube. Google claims YouTube fulfills the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s mandate to remove content from the site when content owners complain that it’s illegally online”

I think that Viacom is missing a massive opportunity here. Millions of people are watching Viacom content on YouTube, while at present the only people who gain financial benefit are Google, in advertising revenue. Wouldn’t it make more sense for Viacom to work with Google to identify its content and, instead of removing it, take a slice of the advertising alongside it?

I can’t help but think that would be far more profitable for Viacom than trying to stop people uploading episodes of “The Daily Show”.

But Viacom’s issue is that it hasn’t grasped the fundamental issue of the Internet: it no longer can fully-control how its content is distributed or where it’s viewed. The key thing to do in these circumstances is not to try and retain a level of control that’s simply no longer possible, but to seek to work out ways of making money from your content, no matter how its distributed or who does the distributing.

YouTube is a great example of this. Viacom (and probably Google) can’t pratically stop people uploading its content. So the question is “how can Viacom make money from this lack of control?”