Though this marks the most direct big-media response yet to YouTube, the venture is hardly a frontal assault on the video upstart. Instead, it’s a fundamentally different approach, one that cedes less control to consumers. YouTube does more than provide a forum for amateur and semi-professional video; it lets users act as the site’s curators, gathering and posting (and sometimes remixing) an array of clips they didn’t actually generate. They have turned the site into a digital memory bank for broadcast television â€” a Web-based VCR.
The new effort, by contrast, makes viewers more passive, accepting what the networks and studios have churned out. Users will be able to put the videos on their MySpace pages and other websites, potentially generating more advertising revenue. And they’ll be able to edit and mix at least some of the clips with their own material. But the real point is to help Hollywood rein in unauthorized use of its copyrighted content on user-generated sites.
[…] Of course, that strategy will break down if users don’t like the terms that Hollywood tries to impose. There’s no way to filter the entire Web, and Internet users have proved remarkably adept at finding what they want wherever it’s available. Still, it’s a welcome change to see at least some of the studios respond to YouTube in the marketplace rather than merely trying to bottle up their content through the courts.
Elsewhere in the LATimes, an article suggesting that TheirTube, based on online entertainment like Snowmen Hunters, is going to have a tough row to hoe: Hollywood’s big online rival: the little guy – pdf
Yet if I were running Viacom, I’d be nearly as concerned about shows such as “Snowmen Hunters” as I’d be about ensuring that my own stuff wasn’t misappropriated.
In the long term â€” which in Web time means, like, five years â€” these sorts of amateur offerings could wind up playing their own significant role in squeezing profits of the leading TV and film studios. […]
For Big Media, the real threat will emerge as more and more advertisers, attracted by the millions of viewers who genuinely enjoy this homespun programming, gravitate toward the sites hosting these productions and, in turn, more and more money starts finding its way to the talent behind them.