Interesting piece from Mediaweek on the continued resistance of the big media companies to dropping their resistance to YouTube. Companies like Viacom and others still linger behind their entrenched position that YouTube is a bad actor and that it’s going to violate some part of their core business to allow film clips to appear there.
Ad buyer hesitation I can see to some extent. If your creative process hasn’t undergone the necessary evolution to grow beyond pre-roll 30-second spots then YouTube’s policy against such ads is going to be as confusing to you as a “courtroom” or “cell phone” are going to be to Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer. “No pre-roll” ads is just going to give them a headache, so best just to go elsewhere and leave well enough alone.
But media producers should, as I’ve continually said, be looking for just about any piece of online real estate that might be available to use as a distribution platform. Here are their two options:
#1 – Insist that everyone consume content on your terms, a policy that limits audience exposure because of technology, time, established behavior or other factors.
#2 – Allow your content to grow online like a sea monkey through viewer forwarding, embedding and a variety of other tools. I’m not talking about outright piracy of the entire film. That’s wrong. I’m talking about someone pulling their favorite four-minute scene from a movie and use it in a blog post.
I would rather my content get seen – as long as it’s not in the context of theft of the whole thing and with appropriate attribution – than effectively hide it to anyone I didn’t deem cool enough. But I’m kooky like that.
At some point Viacom and others are going to have to look beyond their noses and embrace YouTube and other players, even if it means slackening the control they try to maintain.
I’m really hoping they don’t clamp down on YouTube versions of the Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull trailer that’s set to debut on Thursday. That would be a tremendous mistake since that’s likely to be so popular it could even give Dramatic Chipmunk a run for its money. Saying people can’t share the video in that manner is going to cut off a powerful, passionate chunk of the word of mouth that’s going to be generated about the trailer and the movie as a whole.
If online buzz is supposed to be this Holy Grail of marketing then media companies need to facilitate and not interrupt that buzz when it happens, even if it falls outside their comfort zone.