CBS and Youtube – What wasnt said

CBS is rightfully proud of their success on Youtube. Copyrighted material has value. Now whether Youtube was responsible for ratings increase or not, is not something anyone can answer. An argument can be made, as many commenters have suggested, that they know longer have to make an appointment to watch TV or even program their DVRs. They simply go to Youtube to cherry pick the best parts of CBS’s programming.

That isnt necessarily bad. Contrary to popular belief, the value of these viewings lies not in promotion, but rather in getting paid for people viewing ads around the web based video content. I truly believe that what CBS is doing with Innertube helps attach people to programs and incents them to watch the shows on TV. Watching a full episode attachs you. You have made a committ to watch. That committment can extend to making an appointment to watch or TIVO the show., Watching clips on videohosting sites is cherry picking and preserves the users ability to not have to committ to the show and allows them to pick up on anything that captures the publics interest and they want to find out what the talk is about. That is the definition of viral right ?

But from a business perspective Sumner Redstone isnt going to let Viacom/CBS or any of his entities give somehting away for nothing. It always comes down to money and EPS. So the real question is which form of video earns the greatest amount of money. Right now the new money and easier money is on the web. CPMs can be comparable to network. For now. But that will change as a glut of video comes online and CPMs fall like a rock in the next 18 months.

But that wasnt the interesting stuff i read between the lines.
What was most interesting in the CBS press release was that theydidnt give credit to or even acknolwedge user uploaded content. If you are going to celebrate Youtube and its value, isnt that supposed to be at its heart ? What the individual users do with content ?

This isnt a knock on Youtube or CBS in the least bit. It is a leading indicator on what to expect from CBS and other big media companies.

Its about what CBS wants online, not what users want online. Catfight ? only if we say so. Something go not right on the air ? Youtube, take that down.

Thats how I read the release.

And one more thing. I want to know how many CBS/Viacom employees are among those 20k subscribers and why they used Youtubes public, and unquestionably inflated view numbers (again, not a knock on Youtube, just a reality. Views are the equivalent of hits. not reliable).

When big media figures out how to co opt social networks, things change.

23 thoughts on “CBS and Youtube – What wasnt said

  1. Thanks for the interesting point of view you have here. I am so eager to read this questionable press release as soon as I can.

    Comment by Jane -

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    Comment by bhattathiri -

  3. Absolutelly agree with #5 too, they are always like that.

    Comment by Paulos -

  4. Interesting take on it. I didn’t get a chance to read the press release but I am off to do so now.

    Comment by jack -

  5. You know, since CBS makes so much money off it’s content, what about the numa numa guy or the fat star wars kid? Youtube should either pay for advertising revenue for videos equally or not at all. But that is why you tube is a sanctuary for content.

    Comment by Gavin -

  6. What is driving this is the fact people want to watch whatever they want when they want.

    In 3 years we will have IPTV and if you can add some smart tools to those set top boxes (like YouTubes similar clips) then you can kick back and watch it on your home theater. Of course what would all the people do when they are at work?

    The 10 minute clips are cute but having to keep clicking to watch different parts of a longer show is a pain. I would love to type a search (or browse by channels) a huge archive of content and would gladly pay a micro-fee (say $.10 to $.25) to watch a show on my IPTV. Profile your subscribers and splice targeted commercials into these shows. That way you can post ads about Mavs merchandise to a viewer in Dallas (who you know watches all the Mavs games) even when he/she is watching CSI. You could also serve dating site ads ( to a single woman who is 34 instead of wasting those ads on homes of young families with young children.

    When our TVs have Ethernet jacks (or wifi/WiMax) and the networks will serve you anything from their huge vaults of content, whenever you want it, they will make even more money by targeting the ads.

    The networks are big ships and they take a long time to turn. I am sure they will roll with the punches while they make the necessary adjustments. They still own the content and just need to learn how to leverage that with this new distribution channel (Internet).

    Comment by Andy -

  7. Don’t forget that Youtube (as it is right now) is more of a novelty than anythinge else. Now, don’t get me wrong, you can make a lot of money providing people entertainment and funny clips, but right now, it’s not a whole lot more than that (until someone can start truly monetizing it).

    Comment by wailea -

  8. Agree with #5, they are always like that, no way around it.

    Comment by -

  9. Hi Mark,

    Well said! While you have been focusing most of your discussions on how youtube will affect content providers and companies that sell contents legally(i.e. apple), what is your take on its impact on companies like TIVO? With the proliferation of watching TV episodes on the internet and as you mention the ability to download and convert them, wouldn’t TIVO feel a huge impact?

    Internet marketing consultant
    Dominic Lee

    Comment by Dominic Lee -

  10. I’ve always thought the big issue here is with TIVO or DVR. I rarely watch a show now that’s not pre-recorded. What do I do when a commercial comes on? I fast-forward through it. You want to talk money, how will advertisers feel when they’ve spent all that money to advertise on this popular, highly-rated show, and I never saw their advertisement. I may be part of a small minority who has TIVO/DVR, but the numbers will surely grow. At what point do these pre-recorded shows start having an impact on television dollars?

    Comment by mikeeeeee -

  11. I have this amazing modern instrument known as a TV antennae and it gives me free access to CBS television shows, provided I watch their commercials. They make absolutely no money on the show unless it generates advertising targets, i.e. viewers. Your infatuation with making money through lawsuits based on copyright issues is bizarre, in particular in that was most likely airing uncopyrighted material during the early days. You made your billions and didn’t like it when people whined and complained about you and now you are a million times worse. Hypocrit.

    Comment by Matt -

  12. Wow, an elephant bragging because it thinks it’s mastered the box step.

    CBS is soooooooo advanced.

    Maybe YouTube will goose revenues enough to pay a whole milli-fraction of that contract they gave Katie Couric.

    Comment by CaptiousNut -

  13. Mark you just come across as sour grapes still. You were wrong about YouTube before google bought them and need to just let it go. HD is great but it is a different niche. The hell with CBS, what these suits need to understand is that a great part of the success of YouTube comes from freedom. The news has been cherry picked and censored by these scumbags for years and now the truth is getting out and they can’t control it nor can they stop it. They are scared and are desperate to find a way to control it again. RatTube is part of the “new” media and they hate that site. I say GOOD!!!

    Comment by Rat -

  14. the future is now on-line is the real deal i am an early baby boomer and it’s great to go to the internet and pick up music that i like and tv stuff i wouldn’t view cause i am not home and would not consider taping the shit to anal for me … millions of americans actually have lives and don’t sit home 24/ 7’s…with a schedule .. surfing is for people who have no focus having said all this i don’t understand your negativity .. bill maher is on all week cause they realize that they are giving us time options and further more you tube supplies multi-task people awesome far as regulaters are concerned self made men like yourself shouldn’t scare easy you got steel balls… why are you whining about companies that are takin chances to make it.. people across this country on an average live in small spaces and i see the internet as the focal point in their place like the consule tv was years ago..the options for business people to make money and transform the way we do stuff is just startin the problem is how do you find people with your passion to run these deals … still don’t understand your pain with cbs / youtube…i am da big cat…

    Comment by tiger vidmar -

  15. I think you’re absolutely right. User uploads are the main reason why Youtube is successful. Once they start regulating that, Youtube will just be an really expensive online version of America’s funniest home video. Is that show even on Youtube…?

    Comment by Filmmaker in Asia -

  16. Mark,

    When the NBA figures out how to co opt social networks…

    Of course that gets harder when they lose someone within their framework who is an expert in digital media distribution and high definition programming. 🙂

    Comment by Anand -

  17. I haven’t watched any CBS stuff on GooTube… so answer me this… do they run commercials during those clips or do they think that the Ad Revenue will be high enough to pay for the “project” of posting them to YouTube?

    How much money can they spend in “hopes” of getting more viewers? Their press release shows 100’s of thousands of new viewers for the late night lineup.. but how many will continue to watch?

    In order for Advertising CPM’s to drop, it will have to be proven that people prefer the internet over their handy dandy TV… as it is, I feel the DVR should drive CPM down due to the fact that every DVR has a SKIP button. I’m in advertising and my commercials AREN’T being seen by DVR’ers…

    YouTube clips are cute, but TV advertising dollars won’t be lost until you can watch the entire David Letterman show online with a reliable feed.

    If CBS spins that press release the right way, they should try to raise their advertising Rate Card…

    Mark, do you agree?

    Comment by Wolfe & West -

  18. CBS most likely will benefit somehow from this whole thing and the press release. What is interesting is that this is sort of like the early days of the internet, no one quite had it figured out, there was lots of testing and seeing what worked and what didn’t, and there was really a sense of trying a bunch of things to see what worked. There are other issues here (copyrights, et al), but still, it’s sort of a wild frontier while companies figure out how to monetize their successes, consolidation takes place, and the courts and attorneys figure out all the legal and regulatory aspects.

    Comment by basketball drills -

  19. That CBS press release was a complete piece of puffery. To my eyes, it was just part of a co-marketing agreement between CBS/YouTube. Remember: CBS is a stakeholder now in GooTube.

    Comment by Chris D -

  20. I think there there is an upcoming factor that is going push more people into accepting Internet videos as primary entertainment outlets – the end of the SD analog TV signal. Without an a-la-carte cable package option in the United States, many people find cable/satellite, in toto, to be too expensive in and of itself, however, without the added HD programming cable/satellite provides, there isn’t enough content in over-the-air HD to justify the currently high (at least $700) cost of buying an HDTV. Without compelling content at a reasonable price, you’re going to find that fewer people will make the financial hurdle to move to HD video.

    Or in other words: People who might gladly pay the premium costs for HD programming if they HAD HDTV might find the initial setup costs to be too much of a hurdle to adoption.

    Comment by Brian Boyko -

  21. dude – you couldn’t have said less.

    oh yeah – get off the team bus. these guys aren’t your personal slaves. and stay out of the arena, too. nobody likes a no-nothing slavemaster trying to tell the field hands how to handle their business.

    Comment by Peter -

  22. Also not acknowledged in that press release is the advantage of having CBS content prominently featured on YouTube’s home page.

    In a way, it seems as though YouTube is becoming the Net’s version of an old-school TV network. What they decide to put on the front page is the equivalent of a show that CBS might schedule right after a hit show like `CSI’ — inevitably, people will watch it, whatever it is.

    It’ll be interesting to see whether YouTube is consciously trying to move out of what you, Mark, have so aptly dubbed the ‘long tail ghetto,’ and into a higher-rent neighborhood.

    Comment by Scott Kirsner -

  23. “Innertube” – that’s cute 🙂

    Comment by Dr Nic -

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