Just An Online Minute... Don't Count Out YouTube Just Yet

by , Mar 23, 2007, 1:19 PM
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Google's YouTube appears to be facing challenges on several fronts. Viacom filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the site, while NBC and News Corp entered into a joint venture designed to rival it.

But not everyone thinks that the moves spell doom for the video-sharing site. Brokerage house Merrill Lynch this morning issued a report predicting that the media companies eventually will distribute on the Google-owned site.

"[T]he YouTube overhang seems unwarranted," writes research analyst Justin Post, who recommends buying the stock in his report. "We think content deals eventually will get signed."

The stock, currently trading at around $460, is at "all-time lows based on forward consensus estimates," according to Merrill Lynch.

Others, also, believe that major media companies will eventually decide it makes more sense to distribute on YouTube than fight the site. Some pundits hold that major media companies face the prospect of irrelevance if they completely shut out YouTube.

Even some TV networks seem resigned to dealing with YouTube. Former Viacom corporate sibling CBS, for instance, just created a YouTube channel devoted to the NCAA games.

While the joint NBC/News Corp venture appears to threaten YouTube, it won't necessarily make the site less popular. Consider, NBC and News Corp plan to stream full-length programs on a standalone site and via AOL, Yahoo, MSN and MySpace, while YouTube features clips less than 10 minutes long. Theoretically, at least, YouTube and the new venture can co-exist.

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