Latest Study Questions Whether YouTube Really Hurts Viacom

from the perhaps-not-so-much dept

With Viacom suing Google for a billion dollars, claiming massive losses due to people watching its shows at YouTube rather than on TV, it certainly seems worth asking whether or not YouTube actually represents a loss to Viacom. Luckily, that’s just the type of question economists like to dig in on — and a new study basically finds that Viacom is almost certainly overreacting, and potentially harming itself in trying to kill YouTube. What the study found was that while there is a small decrease in how much time people spend in front of a TV if they’re watching videos online, they end up watching a lot more overall programming. That is, the decrease is made up and more (a lot more) online. And, in other ways, it may be helping increase TV viewership, as someone who watches a show online becomes a lot more likely to watch that show on TV as well — simply switching back and forth between whichever media is more preferable at the time. In other words (and this shouldn’t come as a surprise) those clips on the web help promote the TV series that are available and help build up new loyal viewers… and all of these promotions come without the company having to pay a dime for the promotion. And that’s what Viacom is suing over? People helping to promote their shows? Admittedly, the study only focuses on college kids, who may not be a representative sample of the wider US — but given the core demographic most TV shows are going after (and the folks Viacom is most worried about losing to the web), this study certainly suggests Viacom is totally wrong about yet another thing.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: google, viacom, youtube

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Latest Study Questions Whether YouTube Really Hurts Viacom”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Jimi says:

Re: Re: Re:2 No.

“The risk of someone pressing a CD and selling it is there whether or not Viacom is online. The risk of it happening if the video is on youtube increases by a grand-spanking total of 0% since youtube stuff can’t be downloaded.”

actually, that’s not true.. It’s very easy to download and convert youtube videos and put them on disk, or your ipod, etc.

jonLl says:

Re: Re: Re: No.

First you argue “No,” then “FU.”
Be careful now…that’s a lot of stress to put on your brain.

Now, your first mistake was arguing “No,” as in “the study is complete bulls***.” Arguments usually work better when you actually address the opposition vs. trying to simply deny it. So, I’ll actually adress yours…

Ok, yeah…every re-distribution of IP, that doesn’t directly return profit, is a “lost sale.” But, each “lost sale” can easily be made up for with indirect profit through building up a larger fan-base. Actually allowing that IP to be shared 1) doesn’t piss of your customers (unlike suing all of them and the sharing services they actually like to use) and 2) will most likely convince more customers to actually go buy the real product (i.e., more overall, vs. per-item, profit for the IP owners).

Kjell Andorsen says:

Re: No.

Viacom should comply with the DMCA (you know the law they helped fashion) and send take-down notices for any copyrighted material they feel should not be on youtube. Other content providers do this and google/youtube has had a stellar record in complying. What Viacom is doing is suing because they feel google should do more than what the law requires which is patently ridiculous. Google is protected by safe harbor provisions and not responsible for the actions of the users. If Viacom wants to sue it is their responsibility to track down the users uploading the content and suing them, not the service provider.

Faceless Minion says:

Re: No.

I pity you for not understanding just how utterly moronic your statement makes you sound, dearest A. Coward. But let me put it this way: Youtube is under no liability for what is on Youtube due to safe harbor laws. They certainly are not liable for damages. Only Viacom and the people that post copyrighted content are.

Max Powers at (user link) says:

Stealing Content Not Right

Someone that copies a program and puts it on YouTube
deprives income from royalties and residuals to individuals, not just the studio’s.

Even if it promotes the studio’s works, which is up for debate on how much it works, the studio should have the final say on how, where and how much (if any) should be paid to the studio for their copyrighted works.

And why would Viacom care about some study that suggests that they might benefit from allowing their copyrighted programing to appear on a website that pays them nothing?

I’m starting to think to many Internet users feel that everything they want to use should be without cost.

dorpass says:

Re: Stealing Content Not Right

Max, did your monitor burn out after you typed that?

That’s an amazing thought, now really, why would any company care about BENEFITING from something, when they can just shut it down and get no benefit. Now really, what company needs to benefit from anything when they can just lose fan base for free!

And nevermind the fact that you did not even address the real question of why does YouTube get sued and not the people posting the videos.

Welcome to the circling boat of movie and music conglomerates, Max, where no one thinks that something should be changed about their business models even as they struggle to sustain their current ones.

chris (profile) says:

Re: Stealing Content Not Right

the issue is not that simple.

using content in a manner that the copyright holder does not authorize is not stealing. viacom still has it’s rights and access to the materials regardless of what ends up on youtube.

not making money is not the same as losing money just like standing still is not the same as moving backwards.

there is a huge difference between wanting something at a price that is reasonable relative to it’s cost and wanting something for nothing. the cost of web streaming is minimal when compared to the cost of making the tv broadcasts and DVDs they have already paid to make.

Another Anonymous Coward (or something) says:

Do they have to?

Trademarks have to be defended – but copyrights don’t do they? I mean – you either hold the copyright or you don’t. Someone abusing the copyright doesn’t mean you lose the right, at least as far as I understand.

They can sue anyone for breach of copyright at any time, even if they let someone previously to break their copyright – so someone producing a disk of their shows and selling it (commercially I’m guessing you mean) could still be sued after the fact, regardless of whether they go after youtube.

Or am I wrong?

Shun says:

Where are these safe harbor laws?

I keep hearing about them, but I don’t think they exist, for copyright. I mean, Title 47, section 230 specifically says it will have no effect on intellectual property law. It just looks a little fuzzy, in this area.

At this point, I don’t know how things stand. I’ll have to read the complaint, etc. The problem that I see is reputational. Maybe Google will be forced to pay, but Viacom is already looking like a dinosaur.

For sale: media company (obsolete) to produce physical artifacts of temporary, plastic culture.

i has a voice says:


I would rather watch a show on my 40″ plasma rather then my 14″ laptop with a tiney you tube video. But the you tube video is FREE and on MY TERMS rathere then those of the tv schedule. And then if the show is appealing to me then I would be willing to take 30-50some minutes whenever a week to watch this show just to avoid the tiney you tube video on my miniscule laptop display (great for plains though). Just thought I would give my buck fifty.

VIACOM Inc (profile) says:

Viacom Inc spanking youtube now!

The VIACOM Spanking Youtube that do hurts us. We love Youtube, we your know , revenge is sweet. revenge is sweet why Spanking VIACOM youtube with Viacom Inc spanking youtube, wow great story!!!!!!!Hey everyone your know abode claim of VlACOM to youtube the damage runs into billions! But VlACOM be not fair, you are stupids that have upload a unauthorized clips video of MTV on Youtube, VlACOM claim 1 billions dollar for Google for unauthorized clips video of MTV , its as someone have spanking you on ass “a femdom businesswoman of VlACOM”!

Viacom Inc spanking youtube now! that do us hurt and we hated VIACOM! VlACOM look to us spying as see that we billions Youtube viewers watch video on youtube clips video of MTV, youtube most pay to VlACOM $1 billion!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...