Just An Online Minute... Viacom Makes Peace With YouTube?
A Viacom-YouTube deal sounds plausible, especially since Viacom several months ago forged an alliance with YouTube's new parent, Google. That deal calls for Google to distribute ad-supported clips of several MTV Networks shows--"SpongeBob Squarepants," "Laguna Beach," and the MTV Video Music Awards--to publisher sites in the AdSense network.
At the same time, Viacom, like other traditional media companies, has balked at the vast array of copyrighted clips that users have posted on YouTube. Recently, Viacom asked YouTube to remove the longer programs that were on the site--though apparently decided not to demand that the company take down shorter clips.
Clearly, the company has been given a mandate to beef up its Web efforts. The new CEO, Philippe Dauman, recently forecast Viacom could bring in $500 million in digital revenue by next year. Just this week, the company said it will soon launch a new video player that allows users to place clips on their own online pages as part of a Web site revamp.
Whether Dauman's prediction proves to be prophetic or simply wishful thinking will depend, largely, on whether Web users can easily find and watch the company's videos online. Turning fans into distributors is one path; harnessing YouTube--which already draws a vast video-hungry audience--obviously also can help Viacom find an online audience.
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