Traditional media versus new media in a battle royal to the conceivable bitter end: Some traditional media looking to stomp out the inevitable adoption of another consumer resource and some new media striving to stake their claim in the ever evolving landscape of consumer adoption.To this struggle, there is an obvious element of key players confined by the grips of their economic model: Viacom and YouTube. Given the entertainment industry’s overarching view of YouTube being a proponent of potential copyright infringements, this is not a surprise based on past experience with network sharing, however, not all is lost in YouTube (and other social networking sites) propensity to enable the proliferation of peer-to-peer marketing versus right’s holder compensation.That is, unless you take the position of Viacom and enact the litigious ideal in stomping out competition rather than strike a balance between the distribution right they hold and the fair use clause of the material they own. There is a subtle balance between protecting the importance of one’s copyrighted works and withholding potential marketing.It is the “viral” marketing that Viacom, and its traditional media defenders, cease to comprehend. Much like the music industry faced in the launch of Napster in the late 90s the rest of entertainment is now facing in a much more formidable form both in consumer adoption and in corporate sponsorship. Viacom is seeking to burn the bridge between traditional and new media rather than embrace and subsequently potentially manipulate it, thus repeating the mistakes of record labels when the first incarnation of file sharing reared its head in the wild west of the internet.The music industry failed because they did not acknowledge the consumer desire, but moreso because they failed to manipulate the content providers early on in satiating that desire. It could be conceived as which came first, the chicken or the egg, the consumer’s desire or the ability to provide an execution, but none-the-less, rather than castrating the rooster as is typically done in entertainment, maybe it is time to just point the fertilization to a better egg, perhaps the golden egg of entertainment. Currently, traditional media conglomerates take two sides to this scenario.The successful parlay of the social network’s peer-to-peer marketing in the lines of CBS’s examples and that of the Viacom lawsuit (re)filed in late April. Whereas CBS was able to negotiate a deal to allow the appropriate distribution, without alerting fans to the ploy, of their late night comedy (Letterman, for example was up 5% and Ferguson was up 7% in the ratings according to PC World and AP), Viacom is seeking to shut down its popular, but ever struggling MTV, Comedy Central and Spike, show clips on the bourgeoning videos sites. The potential for controlled profit sharing is there, but the shortsightedness of networks in a protectionalistic idea. This is not an argument over whether rights holders should defend their works or allow unabated dissemination, this is an argument over how to best leverage the rights inherent to the works themselves. Granted, the subtleties of interpreting each make this a tighrope wire of perception and opportunity versus’ short term losses but in the grander interpretation, there is enough to debate.Taking this out of the entertainment industry for a second (but probably bringing up an entirely new argument none-the-less) the reason why gross national products suffer is, in part, due to too much nationalism rather than a world-view of production and distribution. The tighter a nation holds its products rather than succumbing to international pressure to providing it cheaper and more reliably the more both the product and the nation suffers. America’s best example is nationalism in the early 1900s where tariffs held back imports to protect sub-par American products. The next would be, again, the late 1900s where distribution was predicated by a short-sighted idealism to tradition rather than the greater good of the whole. The consumer usually benefits from competition when competition was an initial aspect of the product in-an-of-itself and with art (such as music, film/tv, publication, etc.) where generations of worldwide distribution is already at stake, this is not a time to be close-to-the-vest, this is a time to be progressive and give way to the wheels of mechanism. To hinder distribution now would have a similar effect to that of the protectionist attitude of mid-America which for some industry, corporations are still struggling against the advancement of technology to the demise of the consumer and the companies seeking it.
Viacom should be embracing YouTube and worry less about money up front and more about how it can work with the millions of people who are currently viewing Viacom content on YouTube in order to leverage its future ratings / advertising scheme and pay-per-view idea. Pay-per-view is a huge opportunity and one that is oft overlooked in the grander scheme of the digital realm. You can give away bits and still find a way to monitise the freedom, beyond that of traditional per-page, CPM advertising, there are CPA models integrated advertising, there are non-skip pre-view-mercials, there are skipable infomercials, there are opportunities to sell endorsements, brand placements and other in-view “advertising.”
Never mind, there are opportunities to leverage the distribution mark not in a cease-and-desist lawsuit, but in partnered distribution the way networks such as Viacom utilized cable and satellite distribution back in the day. The ability to “sell” part- or- whole elements of your programming to an online distribution chain, such as YouTube, at a price (or a premium) would supplement their incomes rather than hinder them. Treating new media as another avenue for distribution rather than as a detriment to the traditional ones would show foresight and the ability to all stakeholders a dedication to the mark rather than a deterioration of it.The difficulty is getting past typical perceptions and taking a new view of the mark and that speaks as much to interpretation of copyright and trademark ownership in the givens in the US Constitution and international WIPO conceptions as it does to foresight to future mediums and endeavors where one is not willing to relinquish too much to not receive enough. Demonstrating that balance is impossible to ascertain at this day and age. However, in a time when the distribution chain is as challenged as it is, apprehension can be more costly than progressive adoption based sharply on past example.