CBS Kneecaps YouTube Clips Of Sports Talk Goliath
from the minimizing-their-reach dept
In all the strange goings-on concerning media companies aggressively taking down YouTube videos that extend the reach of their content, and likely create new fans, it's somehow exhausting to see how few media outlets address the larger questions. Typically we get news of the takedown, the subject content of the takedown, and an acknowledgement that the content wasn't legal to put on YouTube in the first place. That's it, page, period, paragraph. And that's disappointing.
But perhaps things are starting to turn a bit. As some of the so-called new media outlets mature to become established media outlets, it's something of a sign when they begin asking the same questions we ask about these takedowns. Take Deadspin, for instance, the sports wing of Gawker Media. Deadspin probably still qualifies as new media, but that's a designation that either is or will be beginning to erode. Now take into account their story of CBS taking down a bunch of YouTube clips of Viacom sports talk mogul Mike Francesa. They start things off with the typical explanation of the events. They likewise go on to note that this action is well within the law.
CBS is within their rights to go after anyone sharing their copyrighted material. This was a cold, businesslike carpet-bombing of Youtube by CBS's legal team, not the outcome of some specific vendetta against the WFAN Audio guy. Nothing personal.And, in many reports about something like this, that's where it would end. Deadspin goes on, however, to do its best Techdirt impression.
But here's the thing—if there's a black market for Mike Francesa clips, it's because WFAN is doing a piss-poor job of marketing him. As has been pointed out, the most popular Youtube clips draw more views than Francesa's FS1 simulcast draws viewers. There's really no reason for a media company not to make its best content digestible, accessible, and shareable. The NHL and MLB have made amazing strides on this front in the past few years, and as a result, if you want to watch or embed a hockey or baseball highlight, your first instinct now is to go directly to the source. You want to hear what Francesa had to say? The audio clips on the official site are unembeddable, overlong, and never highlight the Mike-just-being-Mike miscellany people actually want to hear.In this, they're spot on. What the YouTube clips did was fill a void of customer demand perpetrated by the content creators themselves, or at least the parent company of the creators. Nobody with any sense, all else being equal, would think that the best place to get their Francesa clips would be YouTube. They'd get it from WFAN's site, the radio home of Francesa. But all else is not equal. The WFAN site isn't serving the public demand for their product, so somebody else did in a way that generated no profit for anyone other than WFAN, which benefited from any new listeners generated by the clips. It isn't that what CBS did was wrong, it just wasn't smart.
And, to me, the bigger story is that some of the larger outlets are starting to ask these questions. If that's a watermark for a new tide rolling in, it's a good one.