There's no shortage of online video sites right now, many of which are trying to lay a claim to be the next YouTube, even though they offer little to differentiate themselves. But there's a rumor of a new site that may prove to be a real headache for YouTube. Apparently, the major television networks would like to launch their own YouTube clone, stock it with their own content, and then complain to YouTube about copyright violations, so that they'll become the only place in town to watch TV online. Of course, it's for this reason that Google has set aside a $200 million slush fund to pay off any angry content-owners. We wouldn't be surprised if the industry attempted something like this. It seems like this line of thinking is prevalent across many embattled industries, where they believe that if they just band together and build an industry-wide consortium, then they can keep all the money in house. Supposedly, one of the stumbling blocks to launching the new site is a failure to agree on the revenue split between the networks. This is the surest indication that they're missing the point. As an executive at CBS recently acknowledged, the value in online video is that it's promotional, and brings more fans to the show. To already be fighting over the meager revenue that would be derived directly from the site is a bad sign. It seems far better to focus on what they're good at, which is content creation, and then to take advantage of the existing popularity of YouTube (and whatever the "next" YouTube turns out to be), perhaps by signing deals with them, to drive the popularity and attendant ad revenue of their shows.
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