Viacom’s youtubeless strategy

Scott Karp thinks that Viacom pulling its videos from YouTube makes strategic sense.

If I were YouTube, I’d think long and hard about a business model based on cats flushing toilets and flatulence flambe. Anyone with any kind of professional interest in their video content will soon realize that YouTube’s platform is increasingly a commodity, and that if your content is 1) really good, and 2) embedable, you’re pretty much good to go, regardless of which platform you use.

There’s also a line of thinking that aggregators like YouTube have tremendous power to draw and retain an audience and that if you’re not visible through the most popular aggregation brand then you’re not really visible at all. For content, if Google can’t see you, you might as well not be on the web. YouTube is the video platform with the reach closest to that kind of power.

That said, Viacom owns some popular brands. Maybe the exposure won’t equal what it could get through YouTube, but maybe its solution is good enough. It’s not like Viacom is just throwing up walls and saying it won’t share. At least Viacom has gotten that much right. And it wouldn’t be bad for the web if distribution was less centralized, more dispersed.

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1 thought on “Viacom’s youtubeless strategy

  1. Right before I read this, I was reading IWantMedia, with this quote:
    “David Lehre, the Web auteur behind the hit parody “MySpace: The Movie,” claims to have turned down an online development deal with MTV’s Comedy Central. Says Lehre: “Kids don’t want to go online and watch some stupid Comedy Central channel, when they can just go on YouTube.””

    That’s the threat to the Viacom model – that people won’t go there just to get a few videos. They prefer an open street where they can sample the wide variety. Viacom is betting heavily that they won’t be rendered irrelevant. That’s a huge bet.

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