Slowly, some TV networks are realizing that having clips of their shows on sites like YouTube is a good thing. Certainly they're within their rights to demand that their content be removed from the sites, but it's not necessarily a great business decision. Viacom has been down this path before: back in October, it demanded the removal of clips of Comedy Central shows from YouTube, despite comments from the producers of certain shows acknowledging how fans posting and viewing the clips had helped make them more popular. Eventually, the media giant relented, but today it's told Google to yank more than 100,000 YouTube clips of Viacom shows and content. This is a pretty bonehead move on Viacom's part, since it's cutting itself off from any of the benefits the clips could deliver -- all because it can't get Google to cough up enough money for it. This is the sort of thinking that plagues the entertainment industry, that content's value must always be directly financial, and not promotional. Of course, Google and YouTube must accept some of the blame here, too. By buying off content companies and striking "licensing deals" with them, rather than trying to get them to understand how a site like YouTube actually helps their businesses, they've set the precedent that content companies are right in demanding payment from them. This creates one of those proverbial "leaving money on the table" situations, where big media companies simply can't look past the short-term cash to see the potential long-term gain.
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