Corporate Corner – YouTube Beats TV With 1 Billion Watching

by Chris Castle

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It sounded like a script by Fake Jeff Jarvis.  Eric Schmidt–Google’s answer to Richard Nixon–says YouTube has surpassed television in views at the Newfronts, the Google version of the “upfronts”.  Here are some important differences.

1.  Multichannel networks/Broadcasters:  Roughly half of YouTube views are from “multichannel networks” like Maker and Fullscreen–that don’t pay for music, aside from one groundbreaking deal with Universal Music Publishing.  Broadcasters all have licenses with ASCAP/BMI/SESAC.  YouTube may have these licenses–but the MCN views are not included.  YouTube pulls this off through a contract trick.

2.  YouTube is TV: A good chunk of what’s on YouTube is clipped from broadcast or cable television.  Sometimes YouTube pays for the shows, mostly they don’t.  Remember the Viacom lawsuit?  What do you think that is about?

3.  Standards and Practices:  You’ll never see illegal drugs advertised on television you will see a lot on YouTube.  Try searching for “buy drugs no prescription“

4.  Payola:  One of the reasons multichannel networks are so successful financially is because they make bank on product placements–undisclosed because YouTube is not subject to FCC payola rules.  And YouTube itself is reportedly an investor in the shadowy Maker Studios.

5.  Nonunion Shows:  Most of the multichannel networks produce non-union programming, and judging by the number of contract disputes that have broken out (see Ray William Johnson) over issues that makes YouTube sound like dealing with the record business circa 1930–YouTube stars need much, much better representation.

6.  Escort Ads:  Try searching YouTube for “independent escorts” and you’ll get the idea.  And then of course there’s always this ad for an Android app that Google supposedly severed all ties to after receiving a letter from Rep. Carolyn Maloney:

Do you want your daughter exposed to the Utoopi message that independent modern girls work in professional office jobs during the day and turn tricks at night?

So maybe YouTube only is “beating” TV if you don’t count how much of “TV” is present on YouTube, and only because TV has to pay for music, treat actors well, can’t take payola and can’t advertise hookers and blow.

Other than that, YouTube is a triumph of genius.

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