by Mike Masnick
Wed, Sep 19th 2007 11:23am
It's fascinating to watch the different approaches that competitors NBC and CBS are taking to dealing with the online video market. NBC has seemed almost to have a new strategy every day, happily putting videos up on YouTube, pulling them down from YouTube, being happy with YouTube, being upset with YouTube, putting videos on iTunes, pulling them down from iTunes. It's as if NBC doesn't have a real strategy at all -- or, at the very least, different factions within the company "win" every few weeks or so. In contrast, you have CBS, who recognized the importance of online video at nearly the same time as NBC. However, rather than going with a constantly shifting target, CBS's strategy has evolved in a pretty straight line. The company quickly realized that distribution and awareness was a lot more important than protection and focused on getting videos available wherever people wanted to view them (not just where CBS could control everything). That meant syndicating the content as widely as possible and even embracing the benefits from people sharing CBS content on YouTube and other sites. That's why it's not too surprising to hear CBS' Les Moonves respond to questions about NBC's decision to take its content off iTunes by saying that CBS is thrilled with iTunes and sees no reason to follow NBC's decision. The really telling statement is this one: "We look at iTunes as much as a promotional vehicle for our shows as a financial vehicle." That's why NBC is focused on putting up barriers for viewers, while CBS appears to be focused on taking them down.
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