Well, we were hopeful that the new effort by NBC Universal and News Corp. to create their own video distribution system was actually a step in the right direction, but as the details come out, it's sounding like it's going to face a lot of challenges in gaining any serious traction. The official announcement isn't entirely clear on the details, but there are some troublesome (but not all that surprising) signs. Michael Arrington wrote up a nice live transcript of the conference call announcing the service, and the potential problems become clear almost immediately. The two big things that NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker and News Corp. COO Peter Chernin focus on are the importance of protecting their intellectual property and the opportunities for advertising through this offering. That is, they don't seem to recognize that the core value that YouTube always provided them was as a promotional vehicle. It was an easy way to view content, but also an easy way for people to share and discuss the content -- effectively promoting the shows on behalf of the networks. By focusing on protecting the content and the narrow short-term ways to make money, the project is likely to face some significant hurdles. While you could argue that Wall Street certainly wants these execs to focus on the revenue side of the equation, even some Wall Street analysts are already noting that the new service is unlikely to get very far, as the "divergent agendas and priorities" of the players involved will likely strangle it. It's important to focus on revenue opportunities, but those revenue opportunities aren't going to be found in "controlling" the content and annoying users with ads they don't want to see.
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