Saturday, August 2, 2008

As if GooTube weren't enough

The entire GooTube business model is based on taking other people’s content without paying for it, and then giving it away. Viacom doesn’t like having its content stolen, so someday a higher court will let us know which one is right.

But while attending the workshop Friday, I found out about yet another stolen video content site: SurfTheChannel, which tries to use two loopholes to avoid lawsuits by Viacom et al.

First, SurfTheChannel is based in Sweden and thus claims to be immune to the DMCA. Secondly, it disclaims liability because “SurfTheChannel does not host any content on it\'s Servers.”

YouTube today is 425x344, while 1080i would be 14x as much data. However, storage costs and bandwidth and improving so fast that movie publishers are increasingly facing the same download problems that music publishers have been dealing with for the past decade. These sites are even further examples that fighting IP piracy on a global Internet (given the inherent lack of global IP enforcement) is a Sysiphean task.

When we discussed the problem at the workshop, the conclusion was that content will have to be self-supporting, through approaches such as product placement or mid-roll ads. So if Ford pays all the production costs for a Toby Keith movie or music video with Ford F-150 product placement throughout it, then the producers don’t have to rely on any subsequent revenue streams from selling the views of the video. In fact, if the video gets given away on websites throughout the world, Ford will probably be even happier. (Ignoring for a minute that F-150 sales are miniscule outside the Americas).

Beyond the normal one-off product placement are Sears' sponsorship of the Bob Vila show and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. These are far less subtle updates of the General Electric Theater and the Texaco Star Theater.

So is this the future of video production, when everything becomes an informercial?

“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

“Rick, how about a Lucky Strike?”

“Certainly. After all, Lucky Strike means fine tobacco.

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