Viacom: Pass SOPA Or Spongebob Dies

from the seriously dept

It’s the most unintentionally hilarious video of the year… Viacom has put out one of the most ridiculous “anti-piracy” propaganda videos yet, complete with debunked stats, ridiculous claims, ominous music… and lots and lots of Viacom employees admitting that they’re too clueless to adapt to a changing marketplace, and begging you to give them money so they can keep their jobs. Seriously. As the video goes on, the claims get more and more ridiculous, to the point where someone even threatens that if you don’t keep buying Viacom products, Spongebob might no longer exist. And, really, that’s the hilarious part. So much of the video is just people begging others to save them. They beg people to give them money. They beg the government to save their jobs. Nowhere, however, do they talk about actually adapting. Nowhere do they talk about making use of what the internet provides to build bigger audiences, to promote better, and to better monetize. Because that’s the kind of stuff that Viacom just doesn’t do. It just begs others to cover up for its own business failures.

Remember, this is the same company where the CEO made $84.5 million last year (a $50 million raise). I’d embed the video here, but remember that Viacom is trying to sue YouTube out of existence, so they didn’t put it up on YouTube… in fact, they didn’t put it up in a manner that lets you embed it anywhere. So you’ll just have to go to Viacom’s website and watch the video directly there yourself… costing Viacom’s bandwidth. They could have gotten that bandwidth for free if they’d just posted the video to YouTube… but, as we’re told in the video, “free” is “stealing.” And it destroys jobs. Except for Viacom’s CEO. He’s doing okay.

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Companies: viacom

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Comments on “Viacom: Pass SOPA Or Spongebob Dies”

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Jay (profile) says:

The hypocrisy...

“It’s incredibly frustrating when something that I’ve worked on is being used to other people’s advantage”

Becky Mair – Editor VH1’s Basketball Wives

So… Becky wants to use the story of Shaquille O’ Neal without any regard to the other people that her story might influence. And yet, her show appears on VH1 free of charge to be watched and recorded through a Tivo or DVR.

“The theft is happening at such a level that major corporations are benefitting from it”
Keri Flint – Production Management

Then what the hell is Viacom doing and why aren’t they paying you as much as your CEO?

I have to laugh at this. Their boss gets a raise and they’re complaining about competition from overseas instead of figuring out ways to make their own attractions more appealing.

Where’s the people that say “we need to make a cyberlocker of our own?” Where’s the innovators in Viacom that have said “this is how we compete”? All I’m hearing is a bunch of whiners and defeatists that have given up the battle and don’t even know how to fight. They show a picture of the dolls and products that they sell, but I have no way of knowing how they compete in different markets. I don’t know the Competitive Price Points if they sell in China nor do I know the economics of their situation.

And I’m supposed to feel sympathy because people feel like their website is either outdated or they have no way of showing off their work? WTF?

The logic train is truly derailed with this video.

Ron Rezendes (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Stocks are pretty liquid, I’m sure if I had $50M in stock options I could figure out a way to be set for life! Especially since that’s on top of his $30M+ compensation.

Let’s try to be honest – $50M is $50M, and $50M on top of $30M should not leave the rest of the staff crying about losing their jobs.

Just saying, when the money gets obscene, you have long gone past the problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The stock didn’t have to “go up enough” to get 50 million. He could have easily signed that deal when he came on board, with a vesting date in 2011.

The stock price in 2008 was 13.xx, today it is over 40. If I was a stock holder, I would say whatever he has done has made me a whole lot of money. I don’t think it is particularly fair to blame someone for being successful.

Past success is also not an indication of future performance either, and his 50 million of stock could be worthless in a couple of years if piracy wipes them out.

So I just think that might is being a little dishonest in suggesting he got a pay raise (he did not) when in fact he had stock options that vested.

Mike knows that, he just chooses to ignore it and yell “censorship” every chance he gets instead.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Are you so confused about how cash flows through a corporation to not understand that the money for the stock options and the salary have the same source, the customer?

Buying stocks only gives them working capital, sometimes a lot of working capital, but those stocks impact the companies cash on hand,(not profit) and are responsible to the market, not the company. The stock capitalization does not go to the bottom line. The options might be valuable if the stock holds its price.

Oh wait…the stocks hold their price? The board is happy enough with performance to give out bonuses? Then how is the company hurting?

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: @Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:04am

“It’s become socially acceptable to watch pirated material on the Internet.”

Yep, yep it has. And that’s all I need from the video to know it’s acceptable morally. Period.


False equation: what’s “socially acceptable” isn’t a moral absolute. Slavery was once “socially acceptable” in the USA. You can find any number of horrors that were or are “socially acceptable” yet are morally repugnant.

out_of_the_blue says:

#1 rule of advertising: get noticed.

And here’s Mike /promoting/ their video. I don’t believe that he knows much about advertising. And suggesting that a few more views will run up their bandwidth bill: apparently Mike doesn’t grasp how cheap that is now.

“begging you to give them money so they can keep their jobs” — isn’t that what “crowd funding” is?

Anyway, Mike, as I’ve said before: your fame and fortune is assured if you’ll just give a clue to “clueless” executives on how to make money in the new age that you posit.

Let’s say Viacom has just spent $100M on a brand new movie. Now tell them how they can put it on Youtube so don’t pay even bandwidth, and then how they recover their “sunk (or fixed) costs”.

Paul says:

Re: #1 rule of advertising: get noticed.

“how they recover their “sunk (or fixed) costs” release the movie on all cinemas in the same time not months apart, release the DVD after 2-3 months at a reasonable price not 100 EUR and not after 9 months.

You can find a YouTube alternative where they can charge for commercial time during the movie like cable TV.

If the movie is good people will buy the DVD/BlueRay because YouTube dose not look good on a 42 inch LED TV.

My point make it available to the masses when everybody is talking about it not after an year, and make it cheap, they will get the money from the sales. I bought a movie which was released in 2003 last week because it was 8 euro and I saw the movie in cinema and file shared more than 6 times and I never got bored of it, but the original is something that I can store and show of to my friends what a wonderful collection I have. hahaha

FM Hilton (profile) says:

Viacom's CEO's pay package

Believe it or not, Viacom’s CEO got lots more than just stock options-he got a huge bonus, as well.

Bonuses are given out as cash, and they’re not taxed at the usual rates as income. They’re covered by capital gains, which is why CEO’s prefer them-the tax is much lower than ordinary income tax.

You want to see how much money he really made? Try this chart at the NY Times:

To be specific-
He got a salary of $2,625,000.000
a bonus of $11,250,000.00
perks of $ 141,000.00
Stock of $41,833,309.00
Options of $28,620,000.00

Nice paycheck, huh?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Viacom's CEO's pay package

Bonuses are given out as cash, and they’re not taxed at the usual rates as income. They’re covered by capital gains, which is why CEO’s prefer them-the tax is much lower than ordinary income tax.

Bonuses are taxed as income, not capital gains.

Anonymous Coward says:

“We’re makers, not takers. We’re not trying to take away anyone’s first amendment’s rights”

You are LIARS!! Our first amendment rights have already been taken away, through the wrongful establishment of broadcasting and cableco monopolies into the sole hands of big giant corporations. Mike would probably never get the opportunity to criticize our outrageous IP laws and to discuss all of the substantial harm they cause and to discuss what the founding fathers felt about IP (that it’s a privilege, not a right, and that it should only be used to promote the progress and benefit society, not because anyone is rightfully or naturally entitled to these privileges and not to compensate IP holders because they rightfully deserve compensation, that’s not their purpose) on national television, yet the government established mainstream media is more than happy to broadcast pro-IP propaganda. Our first amendment rights have already been denied to us in many ways.

Restaurants and other venues can’t even host independent performers without receiving legal threats demanding payments under the pretext that someone ‘might’ infringe and this deters independent performers from independently building their own audience.

The OWS movement (though I do think they are being ambiguous and will probably accomplish little because of this) can’t even protest without the government denying them access.

Outside of the Internet, bad laws have already been used to take away our first amendment rights. So don’t come here and lie and claim that our first amendment rights aren’t being taken away. They are and they already have been.

Anonymous Coward says:


Am I the only one who laughed through the whole thing? With the sad piano music and the “poor content creators” sitting in multi-million dollar offices wearing designer clothing whining about people downloading their stuff? I was literally 1/3 of the way through the video before I realized they weren’t kidding.

Oh, and if you want me to feel bad for the “makeup artist without a job” or the “guy who hangs the lights”, then maybe you should try to find one to talk about how piracy is affecting them. Good luck. All of those with useful talents (and no, “marketing” or “director of programming” don’t count) have as much work as they always have, and have only felt the sting of the economy as much as every other industry in the country

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Unintentional?

and yes, they don’t legally have to and it’s not for us to dictate how much they get paid in a free market, I know some IP maximist is going to bring up this argument, but the point is that when they take such huge bonuses under free market capitalistic pretexts then their claims of needing more government protectionism to create more jobs holds less merit. They only want free market capitalism when it suits the CEO and those who are highly paid, but when it comes to hiring more workers the free market capitalism argument quickly gets forgotten and suddenly they want government protectionism. The free market capitalism argument only applies when it’s convenient for them, otherwise, it doesn’t apply.

Anonymous Coward says:

Can someone edit the video so that when they talk about it costing so much money to create “quality” content that it starts flashing all the re-made movies and TV shows of late.

It more likely seems that the executives have found that they don’t have to pay creative people to write new stuff because they can just recycle and reuse old stuff.

a sad dude (profile) says:

I sincerely don’t understand why they bothered to film the video. The point is conveyed perfectly in the first seconds of opening sequence. It basically reads:

A cartoon everyone loves has been watched over 1.6 billion times by people who would rather break the law than not watch it and we didn’t bother to cash in a dime on that audience, even though simply uploading them to YouTube legally would bring at least millions without any effort at all. Please kill YouTube for not offering us more.

Jason (profile) says:

So long Spongebob

I’m a huge fan of Spongebob, but If I’ve got to choose Spongebob + SOPA or No SOPA, No Spongebob, I guess it’s so long Spongebob.

They’d better be careful here. I have 3 kids who watch a lot of Nickelodeon. Keep uttering more crap like this, and I’ll delete the channel from the lineup.

Note to media companies: Runing the Internet that my job depends upon will cause me to never buy anything from you again…. EVER.

Anonymous Coward says:

Awesome, their site runs on Sharepoint, a free microsoft product (unless they use the MOSS version), which runs on IIS, a free microsoft product, which runs on Windows Server, a pay product.

I love that they don’t understand the concept of promotion, loss leaders, hooks, etc. and yet are running their website based on free tools designed to lure you into purchasing a different product.

Anonymous Coward says:

Why do I care about these people?

Some guy making a million bucks a year playing with SpongeBob toys in his Hollywood office? Sorry, but not on the top of my list for credibility.

“60 gazillion people watched Jon Stewart… ILLEGALLY!”

Oh… my? Huh, what was that again? Felonious viewers of Jon freakin’ Stewart? It looks like a parody that one might see on Jon Stewart…

Yes, we REALLY need to protect the jobs of some of the most useless members of “the 1%” with this garbage. This is going to go over real well with Joe Sixpack…

Chris Hoeschen (profile) says:

I can’t watch that video, it requires me to download the FREE Adobe Flash player. Free is bad!

Seriously, WHAT?! Do these employees really have their heads up their rear ends they can’t see how horribly this will be abused? Do they really think Viacom would not use this new “tool” to crush a new competitor that is starting to take business away from Viacom? Do they not know this will make everybody who builds a business online guilty until proven innocent?

ECA (profile) says:

NOT interesting

And in all of this, they dont point out the HARD part of making a new show..

The CREATORS make a show..
They shop it around to all the major corps..(they control it ALL)
Once a corp purchases the rights to show the SHOW..
They market it, to TV channels, and find a Slot and commercials to PAY for it..
Popular shows get better slots, and cost more if you want to show your commercials.

If a show gets REAL popular, it gets power to RAISE the price to the its making money for the CORP.

It comes down to DISTRIBUTION. and the CORP has that power.

For those that dont know.
I like watch/seeing cartoons, so I wonder the net to LEGAL SITES to watch a few. YOU CANT. most of the major corp sites(cartoon network) require you to be a cable TV customer, and ONLY certain cable companies..

It used to be fun and easy to goto the sites and watch some old/new cartoons..but if you know much about your cable/sat TV…7 corps OWN 99% of the channels.

ECA (profile) says:

Another point

I will point out something I sent to CN.

With all the Cable/Sat networks. You can only get a saturation of 60-70% of all the people in the USA.
Many are quitting cable/sat.
YOU pay for things you dont want to watch. $50-100 for things you DONT wish to see/hear. The most expensive is the sports channels. about $2-5 per channel.
They charge the cable/SAT who charges YOU, to make money on commercials. that they GET PAID FOR..
Ever watch a sports event..count the commercials.

I went to broadcast TV, and get 20 channels, OUT in the boonies. I wonder how many channels you get in Major cities.
I shouldnt need to PAY to watch corps make money on Commercials..

Anonymous Coward says:

Sorry Viacom - FAIL

Part way into the video, my BS meter went way off the charts.

(paraphrasing) “You can’t steal a 30 cent pack of gum, or a 30,000 dollar car, but it’s acceptable to steal a 30,000,000 dollar movie.”

They really shifted into dishonest rhetoric with that one. The gum sells for 30 cents, the car for 30,000, but the movie doesn’t sell for 30M. All products have costs associated with them, R&D, manufacturing, etc. Those aren’t the selling prices, though. For Viacom to compare selling prices to their creation cost is one big poor-fucking-me smoke screen

Rikuo (profile) says:

Sorry Viacom - FAIL

Precisely. Its the one thing Viacom (and Out_of_the_blue) don’t understand – the market doesn’t give a hoot how much money you’ve sunk into your product. The market will only pay the price they think is fair and is willing to pay.
See this? It’s a bicycle. Steel frame and rubber wheels. Let’s say it cost you 50 bucks to make (just picking a number at random, I have no idea of the costs involved). You want to sell it to me and make a profit. You say $1000. The market says no and your product goes unsold. Eventually, you hit upon the magic number and your product is sold.
See this? It’s a bicycle. It’s made of adamantium and the wheels are nuclear missile proof. You’ve sunk the GDP of a small nation into research, development and building it. You charge an amount equal to the U.S. National Debt. As part of the selling point, you say it cost you millions to build, therefore its automatically valuable. The market says no. The market wants a bike that goes from A to B. All these extra features aren’t needed. Your bike goes unsold.

See this? It’s the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Big name actors are involved. Lots of special effects. You’ve sunk hundreds of millions into it and somehow feel entitled to getting that money back. However, you haven’t counted on the age of the internet. The customers don’t value your movie the same way you do. The customer wants to sit down for two hours, watch something and then walk away. Beyond that, the movie has no value to them. At most, they want to cough up a few bucks, because that is all the movie is worth to them. They may not even pay the few bucks, because someone else is offering it for free, with no catch.
But, you say you’re special. You MUST recoup all of your costs – to say otherwise is heresy. You MUST overcharge and overvalue your content, far beyond what the market wants. You MUST threaten to cut jobs (that’s what it is, blackmail, because its Viacom that has to go the employees and say “you’re fired”). You MUST subvert the democratic process.

Now what’s this? It’s a movie…wait? The budget? It’s not $100 million? But…that can’t be! It’s one of the Ten Commandments, the Eleventh Commandment ‘Thou shalt throw money needlessly when making a movie’.
The actors…I don’t recognize them. Perhaps they’re good. Perhaps they’re not. I’ll give it a watch. How much? Free? How will you make money?
Oh I see. Merchandise. One to one chats with the production crew. Other scarcities.
So…I guess in the end, the future is that you don’t pay for movies at all. You pay for the scarcities and get the movie for free. After all, its market forces at work. The customer wins: they get something scarce, they get something not scarce and their civil liberties aren’t harmed. The movie producers win: they’ve sold something, they’ve made a movie and they have a reputation for doing some good. They haven’t tried to destroy anyone’s lives for copying 1’s and 0’s.

ECA (profile) says:


“That spongebob has been viewed 1,360,000,000 more times than the stated views for BET AND MTV related media. This, I submit, proves that MTV SUCKS.”

NICE NUMBER..with 300million in the USA, and LESS then a 70% saturation to EVERY man/women/child in the USA(about 200 million)it shows MORE problems Outside the USA then inside..
Saturation in other countries, is MUCH less. I will GUESS

Anonymous Coward says:

#1 rule of advertising: get noticed.

You’re a fucking puppet, right? i don’t give three shits about what viacom thinks or about the corporations petty scwables for that matter. This bill will kill more tech companies than save entertainment companies. This bill will also kill off civil liberties. Thats all that i need to know. Fuck you.

PaulT (profile) says:

@Anonymous Coward, Nov 15th, 2011 @ 10:04am

“Slavery was once “socially acceptable” in the USA.”

…and having a child out of wedlock was once something that could cause you to be ostracised from your family, even killed in some cases, same with admitting to being homosexual or having an interracial relationship. It was considered moral to burn people suspected of witchcraft.

Morality is a fluid concept and totally subjective. We should not be making laws based purely on morality, but even if you do then the laws will be useless if a majority of the population decide to ignore them.

PaulT (profile) says:

#1 rule of advertising: get noticed.

“Let’s say Viacom has just spent $100M on a brand new movie.”

If they can’t make money from that movie, they’ve overspent and they deserve to fail. Plenty of movies are made for less, and they turn a healthy profit.

You’re obsessed with the $100 million figure, but it’s only very recently that movies have cost anything like that, and most of those that do have no business costing that much if the industry was more controlled.

Andy (profile) says:

Ironically, the video shows footage of some guy who supposedly had something to do with South Park (which is one of Viacom’s properties). Every episode of South Park is available at to watch streaming for free. Legally, on any device which has Flash (which still kind of sucks but it sure beats the hell out of having to torrent everything). There are also 15-second ads every so often in the episodes, but that’s a small chunk of time compared to commercial breaks which can sometimes take a few minutes. I’m sure no small amount of profit is made from those ads, too.

South park is a perfect example of everything Viacom should be doing with the rest of its media. If Viacom would put up a website that streamed every spongebob episode for free, this would effectively eliminate one of the biggest reasons people pirate stuff: cost. As mentioned before, revenue could be collected from ads, making Viacom more money. Also not to mention that episodes could be viewed at will rather than at a predetermined, scheduled time, opening up the show to a wider audience.

Viacom is just one of those companies who had it MADE in the mid 1990s… with a near monopoly on some of the most fondly remembered cartoons and shows of our youths. However, the times have changed. They don’t have it made anymore. Viacom could easily reposition themselves back at the top of the game by adapting to a new business model — not unlike that of –, but instead of going through the trouble to adapt to the changing times, they’d rather use litigation and legislation to cling to the past with a broken and outdated business model.

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