What Is Viacom Doing???

2 comments February 20th, 2007at 02:53pm Posted by Eli

Um… WTF?

Viacom Inc., engaged in a public battle with top Internet online video service YouTube, said on Tuesday it had agreed to offer its videos to Joost, the Internet video service created by the founders of Skype.

Hundreds of hours of programming from Viacom’s MTV Networks, Paramount Pictures movies studio and BET Networks will be available to Joost users for free.

The deal comes amid a public quarrel between Viacom and Google Inc.’s YouTube over protecting copyright owners material.

Failing to reach a distribution deal, Viacom in February demanded the removal of over 100,000 video clips from YouTube that were uploaded by users without the company’s authorization.

Top media companies Viacom, News Corp. and General Electric’s NBC Universal have discussed launching a competitor to YouTube, but sources said earlier that differing interests have stalled plans.


Warner Music Group and TV production company Endemol have also signed deals with Joost.

So… let me see if I have this straight. Viacom throws a hissy fit over their content being hosted for free on YouTube, alienates pretty much the entire userbase by bombarding YouTube with cease-and-desist letters, and wipes out huge swaths of content that was serving as free viral advertising… and now they’re willing to let someone else host their content, just so long as it’s not Google/YouTube?

I just don’t get it – is there more to this story? Do they think their content is going to be such a difference-maker that it swings the balance of power from YouTube to Joost? Are they planning to get people hooked on free viddies at Joost and then start charging for it? Or did Joost joost make a better offer?

Personally, I’m skeptical. Unless there’s some seriously good backstory, I think Viacom have made themselves look like total asses here. (Also, is there any reason why their content should be restricted to a single video provider?)

UPDATE: Hm. Maybe this has something to do with it. (h/t Caro at MakeThemAccountable.com)

Entry Filed under: Media,Technology,Wankers


  • 1. PoliShifter  |  February 20th, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Probably just a pissing contest going on in board rooms between companies. Could be an ideological difference.

    I never understood the shit fit the corps have thrown over YouTube. Like you said, it’s fucking free advertising. And for Pete’s Sake it’s only 10 minutes.

    I would claim that Olbermann’s ratings went up not just because he has a good show, but also because he got good exposure from YouTube being played throughout the blogosphere.

    For Viacom to go to Joost is probably more about not being willing to admit they were wrong. Managment 101 teaches execs to never ever admit they are wrong, and never ever take the blame. Always blame a subordinate.

  • 2. Eli  |  February 20th, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    I think these companies are hardwired to believe that if someone is enjoying their content without paying for it (directly or indirectly), it’s the end of the world and Must Be Stopped. Doesn’t matter if it actually costs them money in any way or not.

    This would not be ideal (and I wonder if maybe this is how Joost will handle it), but what if YouTube could append a brief Viacom commercial to the front of Viacom clips? 30 seconds would be excessive, but I think most people could sit through 10-15 seconds.

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