Watching the World Change
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How Not to Knock Off YouTube

YoutubeAccording to this report, all of the major networks not named ABC are in talks to create a YouTube knockoff.  Good luck.  Sure, thanks to YouTube's renewed efforts to remove copyright infringing content from its site, many of the more popular videos are quickly disappearing.  And yes, that makes YouTube a less desirable destination...unless you happen to be looking for more Mentos/Coke videos.  But when was the last time two or more networks came together and created something interesting and sustainable?  Has it ever happened?

Will the networks ever really even be able to agree on design, terms, etc.?  We're talking about some pretty large egos around the table, so I'm skeptical.  Then there's the fact that ABC isn't even interested.  The article notes that ABC "wants to rely on the strength of its own brands."  In other words, ABC's ego was so large it couldn't even fit in the room with the others.

I truly believe these networks have the content most viewers want to see.  It's just that I can't imagine them collaborating to create a better (and more attractive) solution than YouTube.  Just look at the NFL Network for a great example of how even a small player can suffer from a huge ego.  Your cable company doesn't offer the NFL Network?  I rest my case.

The best solution here is to work with YouTube and figure out how to monetize their existing platform while also dramatically reducing the number of illegally-posted videos.


Michael A. Banks

But when was the last time two or more networks came together and created something interesting and sustainable?

I can't think of any instance of this, Joe. The idea of networks doing this causes one to wonder if history might repeat itself, ala NBC splitting into NBC and ABC. And before that, NBC's Red, Blue, and Orange components ("Orange" being the West Coast).

I just can't see the networks maintaining a unified presence.

Joe Wikert

Hi Mike. I agree. I also noticed this great parody of the idea on Mark Glaser's Media Shift blog. It's well worth reading:

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