Rumor: TV Networks In Talks To Build The Orbitz Of Online Video

from the come-together dept

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.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Ju1c3, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 10:20am

    Commercials....

    if everyone is watchin the tv on the net though, its done without the commercials that the stations play. and thats where they get all their money from. so it is completely conceiveable that they would try and shut down the sites like youtube. the stations had the same problem with tivo at the start. if they have their own site, then they can advertise on there and make their money again.

     

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  2.  
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    Brian, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 10:26am

    Good idea in my opinion

    I don't understand all of these slightly sarcastic posts from people who are puzzled and annoyed as to why the networks would want to maintain control of their content. In what other industry would someone blame a company for wanting to control the distribution of their product, which they invest hundreds of millions of dollars per year to create?

    "[T]he value in online video is that it's promotional..." I couldn't disagree more. I would say for the time being, that is true -- but that's changing quickly (we're nearly there already) to a model where online video is as good as that on your TV. And as more people have media centers hooked into their TV, soon there will be virtually zero difference - except that the one downloaded from the web is commercial free, and someone else is reaping the reward.

    Networks should embrace online distribution of high resolution versions of their shows, suitable for viewing at home on your television. They can add commercials if they like. It would be worth the convenience of being able to download them as I want, watch them when I want, and archive them if I like.

     

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  3.  
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    Brian, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 10:29am

    One other point...

    ABC has full episodes available online for viewing. I would say it certainly hasn't served to promote the new shows this season. I can name three shows which were available online, and have been or will be pulled due to low ratings.

    Most people seem to seek out the episode online because they missed the on-air showing, or they skip the on-air because they're relying on watching it online.

     

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  4.  
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    nfk, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 10:29am

    Heroes is a good example of networks trying get into the online streaming. All the episodes are available on the network's website, but they break up the show every 5 to 6 minutes with commercials. It's annoying but they're trying. Of course, I'd rather dowload and watch the episodes them commercial free...

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 10:41am

    Someone let me know if I can get any of this stuff without drm. If I am paying for it then it will sit on my hdd ad infinitum. Then I'll start paying attention.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 10:44am

    Its too bad that the networks will roll this out with the same "commercial breaks every 10 minutes" mentality that they use for broadcast television. They could make as much or more money with alternate revenue generation models that better fit web-base viewing.

    Until someone understands that, web-based television will remain an afterthought.

     

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  7.  
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    Solo, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 11:02am

    Re:

    Agreed. If there is one thing the internet gives you, it's unlimited use of content. And uninterrupted too.

    Youtube is successful for that reason: it's content only, and text ads on the side.

    The TV networks would like to recreate passive distribution of 68% content 42% commercial over the internet. "It's what we've always done" said the old executive.

    However, it is why people watch less and less TV and turn to the internet for entertainment (sans the 42% of your time spent staring at dumb advert)

    TV did not kill radio, but the internet didn't kill TV. The TV choked itself.

    All heil to the youtube!

     

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  8.  
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    jake the snake, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 11:25am

    uhh

    isnt this already called the piratebay?

     

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  9.  
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    The infamous Joe, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 11:59am

    Creativity is the name of the game.

    It's been said before, and will be again, I'm sure... better commercials are the solution to this problem. Go on youtube and search for "commercial" and you'll find dozens-- apparently banned because they were too... funny? I can't explain it, but there's one about flavored condoms that had me rolling, I even sent it to my friends.. which means **I** was doing their job for them, doesn't it?

    That, or perhaps more creative product placement in the actual show. Ya know, "Clark Kent drinks coke, maybe I should too?" mentality, or something.

    It seems like every type of media is fighting the internet because they can't adapt to today's technolgy. Dr. Darwin had a theory about something like that, didn't he...?

     

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  10.  
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    nfk, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 12:22pm

    Product placement might be the next step -- it reminds me of the Truman show -- but if the network are hosting their own episode, a la YouTube style, the whole page could be a giant ad, with the episode playing in the middle of it. Or something of the sort.

     

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  11.  
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    Dave Rapp, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 12:58pm

    No one answer

    I look at the solutions to the neworks revenue problems in a few differing ways:

    (god, somebody should pay me for this)

    1. Continue with free-to-air and cable distribution, with commercials like they always have.
    2. abc.com, nbc.com, etc would host streaming and
    3.automated higher-resolution download versionS of their shows with commercials IN THEM. The would download at night or whenever the user knows they won't be watching.

    The codec and player used to view them would prevent skipping the commercials when played.

    I'm sure Apple and Microsoft would be more than happy to accomodate their DRM needs. (DRM grrr)

    If you don't like commercials, then download the shows off a file sharing program like a few of you already do. From the perspective of the content creators - you are a very small percent of the population. Quite frankly, most people can't be bothered.

    As far as DRM is concerned - grrrrrrrr - I respect the content creator's right to protect their property. I DO NOT respect the stupid, self-important executive manner that DRM has been implemented (just look a the brain-dead manner HD movies are being dealt with. 'tards. "I bought all this cool HDTV crap, but my monitor uses a VGA cable so I can't watch my Blue-ray disk! GRRRR!")

    OK, let's go back to the whole TIVO, ReplayTV, and Windows Vista DVR subject:

    Did you ever look at how many IP patents TIVO holds?

    Hmmm. If you are Replay TV, etc - you should - you're going to be paying them a lot of money down the road.... you know, after the market is not just a fringe and TIVO becomes like Kleenex. Then their lawyers will pounce. Brace yourself Bridget!

    Anyway - if the DVR manufacturers don't do anything about preventing the skipping of commercials some lawyer/executive combo will, eventually.

    When that does happen - then all three advertising dollar revenue streams will be equal.

    Personall, I love my DVR - I like skipping commercials, but I understand that the content creators have the right to expect my eyes to be exposed to the funders of the shows.

    If all of the above comes to fruition - then I will happily 'go pee' durring the commercial break -IF they continue making good shows like Heros, Jericho, etc with actual plot arcs and themes, etc.

    Daver

     

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  12.  
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    The infamous Joe, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 1:09pm

    Re: No one answer

    Looks good on paper, but how many hours do you think it'll take before the high-res, commerical free versions are stripped of their DRM and edited to emove commercials before being but back up on bitorrent?

    Remember: Your answer should be a number, units are hours. :-P

    The simplified answer is to shed the old model and switch to a newer, unremovable, unskipable one. Of course, if I knew what that new model should be, I'd be a far richer man.

     

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  13.  
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    fewquid, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 1:23pm

    Not a chance it will work

    "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."

    Yup. Exactly right. And it never works. The reason is pretty simple: what they are trying to do is shoehorn new ideas in to the constraints of their existing model. They don't want to adopt the new model, they just want the benefits, and they don't understand that the two things are utterly intertwined.

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: No one answer

    yes, just like CSS, etc. the encryption will be broken, sooner rather than later. BUT - like the downloaders - not enough people will bother - they'd rather go rent it from blockbuster, or easier yet - pay per view -- which brings me to another revenue stream...

    Pay per view over cable - its done for movies and sporting events, why not 24?

    If the entire cable/satellite thing were to go with pay per view then you could have the marketing people in a euphoric tizzy cominig up with wonderfull new plans (that all sound like cell phone plans)

    tier 1: 2000 min/month - any show
    tier 2: 3000 min/month + 500min premium shows
    tier 3: blah blah + the sports package

    on and on... could keep the execs busy for decades of "happy money talk talk."

     

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  15.  
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    Dave Rapp, Dec 8th, 2006 @ 1:40pm

    On one answer

    Fewquid what is this wonderful new model you keep refering to?

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Look, it comes down to this:

    1. They make the content
    2. somebody has to pay for the content
    3. we want to digest the content.

    either advertisers pay for the content, or we do.

    the content providers can give it to us either way.

    This doesn't need to be viewed in a binary manner, the content providers can deliver the content in traditional and new tech assisted ways, using subscription, pay per view, and advertising dollars.

    From my perspective, you look at the target population, find out what they need, want, and will put up with. You generate some solutions and try them out. Stick with what works, and move on.

    Peace. Gotta go home.

     

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  16.  
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    Norm, Dec 10th, 2006 @ 8:43pm

    youTube Is About USER's Creations

    YouTube is successful because I can make and upload a video of my own.

    It's about US creating content, not about the networks creating content.

    Network TV, no matter how it is delivered, is 1-way content. YouTube is a 2-way street, further extending the 2-way foundation of the internet itself. It's a way for anyone to broadcast content.

     

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