Are Free Bandwidth And Distribution Bad? Ask Susan Boyle

from the oh,-they're-not-getting-paid? dept

Five years ago, if there was a show called Britain's Got Talent (it only showed up two years ago), and it had a sensation like Susan Boyle, it would have had a hard time putting it online. It could have signed up with an expensive hosting service to stream the video, but also would have needed to make a choice about what technology to use (RealMedia? Quicktime?), which would have made it difficult for many people to actually watch it. The bandwidth costs of having people download or stream the video would have been quite high as well. Chances are, they wouldn't have bothered. It just would be way too expensive, with too little a response. Yet, now, thanks to YouTube, they can do it entirely for free. That's amazing. Susan Boyle is an international sensation thanks to YouTube. Without YouTube, she would have been a local UK sensation at best.

But, you have folks at the NY Times who seem to think that it's a bad thing, because the producers of the TV show aren't making any advertising revenue from the clip being on YouTube. No, but they've created a huge singing sensation that is getting attention from millions of people. If they can't figure out how to make money off of that in the long run, they don't deserve to be in business. However, it still amazes me that anyone thinks that because a video is up on YouTube but not making money, it's somehow a bad thing. The producers of the show are getting free technology, a free community of watchers, free bandwidth and free promotions that wouldn't have been possible just a few years ago. And this isn't enough?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:05am

    Of course it isn't enough, ask anyone over at RIAA, MPAA, or other content management organization (for lack of less offensive term). If the content creator isn't getting every last cent there is to be made, then someone must be stealing it.

     

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      Headbhang, May 26th, 2009 @ 10:21am

      Re:

      Content creator? Susan Boyle? Oh, no, my mistake. You mean the "content creator"! 'Cause, you know, the major whiners are often not the actual content creators. It's, if anything, the content "facilitators" a.k.a. the money-dudes, those who think that because they are pouring cash into something they are the ones creating it. Of course $£€ is the only language they speak and that's the only thing they want to get from anyone who remotely takes advantage of something they had something to do with. Attention and devotion won't do, because those things are usually quite worthless to them and they are often too stupid, blind or lazy to come up with an idea that will reliably transform those things into money. These people just want a simple machine in which they insert some money and then starts spitting coins at them from every person who touches it. God forbid they have to think or do something else to get it.

       

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    Rob R., May 26th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    You hit the nail on the head quite squarely.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:27am

    What a perfectly eloquent article. I love how it sums up the whole copyright issue simply and perfectly. It clearly demonstrates how the reactions to file sharing taken by the legacy studios have been completely backwards from the start. This is why I read techdirt

     

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    Ima Fish, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:35am

    We tend to think the biggest obstacle to overcome for musicians is obscurity. We think, isn't it great that Susan Boyle is now world famous? We think, correctly of course, that if it wasn't for YouTube, Susan Boyle would not have a chance to be a world wide singing sensation.

    However, that's not what the content industry cares about. All the content industry cares about is getting paid. All the producers of Britain's Got Talent care about are getting paid. They're in this for the money, not to help Susan Boyle become world famous.

    This is sort of like the Anita Franklin incident. She thought she should be paid for doing nothing. (Well, nothing other than wearing a hat, which is something she chose to do.)

    Here we have the producers wanting to be paid for Susan Boyle's fame, even though they did nothing more than produce their show, which is something they would have done anyway.

    To put it another way, it's not enough that the producers get paid for the work they did. They have to ensure that no one else earns money from what they did. It's a zero-sum game. "You get nothing, we get it all, even if we did nothing to deserve it."

     

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    Paul G, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Contracts

    The whole show, including the panel, is set up as a trawl for new (read cheap) talent recruitment. Sure the Royal Variety Performance is the end goal but Simon and Co. will be on the look out for anyone they can sign up.

    Looking at Susan, I would expect her in a studio doing voice-overs/adverts or even in a stage show. Money to be made.

    Advertising is not the only revenue stream.

     

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    Michael, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:46am

    Newspapers: Free Profit Opportunity

    Saturday night is the BGT final. Within 5 minutes of each performance, that act will be up on You Tube. Here is your opportunity to provide Sunday morning readers a direct keyword link FROM YOUR WEBSITE to each act including the winners selection. Will also provide your website a huge spike in unique visits.

    We will be providing keyword links to each act and the winners selection. The keyword link functionality can easily be added to your website. The instructions to readers are simple: to view any of the performances go to ournewspaperwebsite.com and type in the associated keyword ... eg. the keyword: Boyle will open the Susan Boyle performance, the keyword: Winner will open the selection video. The complete set of keyword links will be available this Thursday ... simply enter the keyword: BGT at www.frapple.com.

    Some newspapers may want to embed the videos on their own websites ... simply tell us the URL's and custom keywords you would like to use ... there is also an opportunity to display a link sponsor message, for up to 5 seconds, while the video is being fetched. Oh, and you can brand the keyword identifier label anything ... POSTLink, SunLink, GoWord ... or whatever.

    Promote YOUR website, keep readers away from Google, find a link sponsor or display a self promo or public service message.

    For more information my contact info can be accessed with the frapple keyword: baz

    There are absolutely no strings attached to this offer ... we will be totally transparent. This is just a great opportunity to again prove keyword links work.

     

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    Francisco, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:47am

    This post made me remember something: a few years ago, watching a teaser or a trailer was something of a nightmare. Some you could only watch with realplayer, others with quicktime. If you were lucky enough you got more than one option.
    Youtube and similar sites changed that for ever, and that is a good thing, not just for consumers but also for content creators.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    If the RIAA/MPAA are not careful, there will come a day where they will actually have to pay YouTube to stream their clips.

     

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    Felix Pleşoianu, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    "If they can't figure out how to make money off of that in the long run, they don't deserve to be in business."

    If the average Joe could be bothered to think about the long run, we wouldn't be in a recession right now...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:16am

    Need for profit

    As you mentioned the producers of the show got lots of benefits from this clip. But what about youtube itself? Google makes most of its money from advertisement and spending it on services like youtube which are not profitably monetized.

     

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    Osno, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    I simply don't believe that advertising hasn't gone up for Brittain's got Talent after Susan Boyle (and the previous winner who also became viral). There are reports of sales going up for Les Miz because of this. If NYT doesn't think that's worth something, they do have a serious problem. That's quality journalism at its best! (only available on paper, digital journalists are amateurs and newbies).

     

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    Kevin, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    The answer for Google is simple. If content authors want a share of the revenue generated offering their content via YouTube then why not do so? However, cost should be shared as well and as the article below indicates, YouTube/Google pays a tremendous amount of money providing bandwidth but has difficulty monetizing it. I wonder how enthusiastically content providers would embrace 'revenue sharing' if they had to share the cost of the bandwidth/server/storage costs as well then ended up owing Google for streaming content for them? Even better would be Google demanding a share of the revenue for the traffic they send to author's content. Notice the NYTime neglects to mention how much traffic is being driven to Britain's Got Talent sites? Or how much more interest/viewership the show got as a result of the free advertising from YouTube? http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/05/26/when-13-billion-people-are-too-many/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:36am

    They are just jealous that nobody had to advertise in the expense print media to get that exposure.
    Bird cage covering is just too expense based on the return you get.

     

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    Bettawrekonize, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:40am

    I think google has something where they try to give away a free Internet connection to anyone without an Internet connection. I think they even tried to offer free wireless Internet to people in many areas (but ISP's I suppose don't like it) but they do in very specific areas (I think their home town or something).

     

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    Steve, May 26th, 2009 @ 9:43am

    Mike - were you drunk when you wrote this? This is the about least comprehensible article you've ever written.

     

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    AW, May 26th, 2009 @ 10:13am

    Steve,
    Nice to see you trolling about. Have you found a hobby yet? This does bring up an interesting counterpoint to the copyright fight. These sites that use google to drive traffic yet pay nothing for it are stealing from google. Granted it's not something physical but Google could be making money off of every person they drive to the website. At a fair 5 cents per person that comes out to...oh dear something in the billions. Leave Google alone RIAA, you're too stupid to realize you're biting your own hand. Wait until google starts to delist you for it like they could.

     

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    YouAreWrong, May 26th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    most businesses don't understand

    Most businesses don't understand consumer level loss leading, which is funny because big box retailers have been turning music into loss leaders for years.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 10:25am

      Re: most businesses don't understand

      ...based on...wikipeida....your on knowledge...
      I know based on previous posts you have made on this site. That is a valid source of information, my bad. Continue making blanket statements with very little evidence.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 10:48am

    So far, I wouldn't call Susan Boyle a content creator. A wonderful singer, yes, but I don't believe she wrote any of those songs she has been singing.

    If I read a book on tape, does that make me a content creator? I would reserve "content creator" to the person who wrote the book.

     

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    Felix Pleşoianu, May 26th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    'If I read a book on tape, does that make me a content creator? I would reserve "content creator" to the person who wrote the book.'

    Then surely you could be replaced by anyone else in reading the book aloud? Including (gasp!) a voice synthetizer? Oh wait...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 2:54pm

    Susan Boyle is more creative than most of the rap / remix / mashup idiots out there who's only talent is the ability to make a simple rhyme or click a mouse button.

    She is a content creator only that she delivers a vocal performance, nothing more. She doesn't write the songs, she doesn't add anything new. She is a pleasant singer, but really not startling different from the hundreds of others who have sung those same songs.

    Remove the song as written, the music as performed by others, and she is just a girl with a nice voice and nothing to say.

    As for the publicity angle, let's just say this will rankup there with Mr Chocolate Rain, goatse, and a few other internet oddities that stay on the publics mind but does in the least sway them to do anything else.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Greed

    The producers of the show are getting free technology, a free community of watchers, free bandwidth and free promotions that wouldn't have been possible just a few years ago. And this isn't enough?

    Greed is king, there is never "enough".

     

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    Techsupoort, May 26th, 2009 @ 11:43pm

    RE:

    If the RIAA/MPAA are not careful, there will come a day where they will actually have to pay YouTube to stream their clips.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:07am

      Re: RE:

      ...and then they start their own and give youtube the finger. Youtube quite simply needs the music, TV, and movie industries way more than they need youtube.

       

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