15 thoughts on “Viacom, YouTube & truth by numbers”

  1. Om–Back when the lawsuit was first filed, the L.A. Times explained how–and why–Viacom came up with such a large requested damage amount…

    They actually hired a company from the US Northwest (don’t recall their name) that first located all/most of the infringing videos with software using keywords, then; using a bunch of humans who actually reviewed over 1 million videos; time and date stamped (for the court/s) every single video/part of video which they believe were infringing.

    Given the number of videos taken down, and the fact that copyright infringement damage awards can be as high as $150,000 per incident; the Times said total damages could actually exceed, if I recall, some 20 billion dollars.

    It’s a monster damage award like this that makes me think that Viacom would in the end be better off–both monetarily and “keep-control-of-our-content/kill SueTube” wise taking this suit to conclusion.

    Would take them decades to earn such revenues via any licensing deal Google’d agree to…

  2. The breakdown of video views between the studios is fascinating. Viacom, the acknowledged follower in the rush to the internets, has nearly double the views of any other studio. I’m going to go through the full report to verify a few facts. But, it seems the laggard has the most popular content (by views).

    This data is one of the most telling indictments of their bungled web strategy. It also tells the tale of a sleeping giant. Well, maybe not giant, but it looks like this kid is twice as big as the other media companies with the YouTube audience.

    Big media with their 9.23/5.93% of content is nowhere near the size they thought they were (or pretended to be). But as far as a proof of a long tail, I’m not sure it applies unless self consumption is a part of the tail. YouTube seems to be mostly personal stuff once you discount the few vlog celebrities. The Long Tail seemed to be a graphic description of a chain of niche markets. Can the cam kid content on YouTube, posted for embedding in profile/blog pages be considered niche media? At what point do you say, this is not about niche markets, but personal media?

    Now I know some will say that as long as you have a group, no matter how small, consuming the content it’s a niche market. I understand that the point of the long tail is to advocate the value of the small in aggregate. But it just seems to me that sharing sites like YouTube and Flickr are not about feeding niche markets. It’s personal media (photo albums and home movies) that you share with your friends and due to the technology used, a lot of other people can see it if they happen to run across it.

    I can see, and totally agree with the long tail as a model for content businesses. The examples of Netflix and Amazon are dead on. Those business models are what the entertainment industry needs desperately. But to apply the long tail in online social environments is like saying the phone system is a long tail because no matter how obscure I may be, there is somebody out there interested in a conversation with someone just like me. (A very small niche indeed.) The long tail doesn’t work as a useful model for personal sharing nearly as well as it works for niche selling.

    You can look at everything as a long tail if you stare at it long enough and are willing to call any number greater than one a niche.

  3. I’ve seen this data interpreted wrong all over the place. This data only includes removed clips. YouTube has barely removed any clips — that’s the problem. The 100,000 clips that Viacom wanted removed were just the icing on the cake.

    Why has this data been so misinterpreted?

    I’d like to see a study of the clips on the site. That will tell the truth.

    Until I see that – this data, combined with the assumption that the removed clips were only a small percentage of the ones that are illegal — leads me to believe that Shelly Palmer was right in his assessment — YouTube has no business without pirated material.

    Please, someone — tell the truth about this data.

    • Jason
  4. Pingback: The Media Age
  5. @Jason:

    I agree with Shelly Palmer. I go to YouTube to see actual videos e.g. Coldplay’s Clocks and NOT Joe in Overland Park, Kansas’s version.

  6. Jason,

    This study is a first step towards a better understanding of YouTube. Is it a product oriented business (copyright protected content being the product), or a video sharing service for the masses? Are you of the opinion that YouTube is like Napster of the past? That would be nearly all copyright infringing content, with some indie clips and personal home videos.

    If so, Google may have the next ex-mega hit if the IP owners get their way. Napster proved that millions will abandon you if you don’t have what they want, or can no longer give it to them because of legal woes.

    YouTube does have a component that Napster never had, the connection to social network profile pages. You never really knew who you were getting content from. You could find out, but mostly you just searched and downloaded.

    YouTube clips on Myspace and other profile pages may be what saves them. People need the video hosting to express themselves online. Will they be able to do that without violating copyrights? Will the studios win by giving them what they want and blocking YouTube from doing the same?

    These questions are at the core of the stability of YouTube. What do people really get there? And, can big Media regulate it, if it turns out to be mostly their IP. The amount becomes far less relevant. It’s the nature of the content on YouTube that is crucial.

  7. It it possible to retrieve a random video from YouTube? If so a study in which say 10,000 videos were randomly retrieved and seperated into copyright infringing, user generated, and copyrighted but available freely has would be very interesting.

  8. Doesnt anyone get it? What I think might be happenning is maybe viacom doesnt like
    the amount of ratings and publicity you tube is getting, Its competition, so to keep them down, lets sue them?
    lets make it rough for them? Ive heard of production companies that have sued independent filmmakers and smaller production companies that are putting out good material just to make it financially hard for them. Its a way to keep your competition worried and insecure, it’s a war tactic. Could that be whats happening here? Cause I feel that all dvd sales and movie ticket sales are down because of the internet and web tv. People are liking the real stuff, you know…the real video stuff. Maybe its digging into the big companies back pockets. I think it’s just a war tactic.

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