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LeFetz On YouTube

By - July 01, 2006

I love this guy’s passion. If you aren’t reading Bob LeFetz, you should be…Here’s his take on YouTube. Comparing YouTube to Napster, he says:

And what happened with YouTube? The EXACT SAME THING that happened with Napster. Suddenly, digital exposition, FOR FREE, blew up underlying copyrighted material/shows. The classic case being “Lazy Sunday” from SNL. After MILLIONS of viewings on YouTube, ratings for SNL WENT UP! Sure, it was all based on copyright infringement, but if said law-breaking had not taken place, SNL wouldn’t have made all that extra MONEY! Because exposure begets revenue. The more people who know about something, the more people who are interested in buying it.

So what did NBC do?

They told YouTube to take the material down.

But now NBC has woken up. Rather than build from scratch their own site, a la Pressplay, a place with fewer eyeballs that no one cares about, they’ve thrown in with the company with all the action, where all the people are, YouTube. They’ve made a deal with YouTube, they realize it’s to their ADVANTAGE!


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14 thoughts on “LeFetz On YouTube

  1. Hashim says:

    he has a talent for stating the absolute obvious.

  2. Well, I don’t think LeFetz said anything new….I was expecting some unusual insight – something no one else is thinking about how YouTube might (succeed/fail) because (it’s not the next Napster/is the nex Napster), etc. Did I miss something?

  3. Ellis says:

    Looks like the internet is now starting controlling the viewing of TV.

    A lot to take in.

  4. yaron zakhyem says:

    Dear John,

    Read the Hebrew version of Search.
    It’s great.
    I’d like to write to Adrian Zakhiem, pleae send me his address.

    Thanks
    Yaron

  5. Tom says:

    Go to Google Trends and perform a comparison by entering “myspace, youtube” (quotes not necessary) and look at the take-up trajectory trends.

    Google should just buy this thing now before it becomes another “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda!!!”

  6. John,

    Thanks for the link to Bob’s take on YouTube/Napster. Glad you’re showcasing an industry insider who’s not afraid to take on the powers that be. Not sure I understand, though, what Lefsetz means by living in the land of infringement. I assume he means moving to China or places where cheap labor with easy access to technology makes piracy more efficient.

    Empowering some people at the expense of others isn’t democratic in the least. I’m no fan of the music industry and its long track record of corruption. Nor am I a fan of low-tech solutions like using videorecorders to film movies and sell just-burned DVDs on tabletops.

    However, a technology solution only transfers power to a new oligarchy. Ultimately, someone with deep pockets has to facilitate or fund sustained viral marketing, whether it’s YouTube or Google or a PR firm. What each is best at is “blowing up” a fad, or creating demand the way infomercials do. Think Ginsu knives.

    No question NBC benefited by YouTube blowing up the SNL skit. The problem for the copyright holders is not with the viral stuff that works, it’s the clips that don’t. Ubiquity doesn’t guarantee sales. Besides, the vast majority of YouTube clips are just as undiscovered and unremarkable as most blogs.

    The marketplace eventually catches up with demand, perhaps not as fast as file sharers would like. Prices for DVD’s, for example, are dropping at a record pace.

    Once implicit consent to “borrow” copyrighted digital content is given — or networks condone unauthorized distribution — the borrowers become the new lenders, in essence “earning” interest on their sites’ eyeballs — royalties by selling ads on their sites.

    Bob’s passionate plea for rewarding the eyeball aggregators fails to address any reason why Fox should make money on their competitors’ original content. I can’t think of a single one.

    I worked on Pressplay’s first national Paid Search campaign, back when Overture and a nascent Google delivered incredible ROI for advertisers. It’s easy to “monday morning quarterback” but cool hardware was the missing link in Pressplay’s marketing efforts. Hardware subsidizes software and the $.99 iTunes pricing. The Apple iTunes-iPod closed loop is what killed Pressplay/Napster, along with rising keyword prices and competition for cheap downloads.

    If NBC/GE and or Universal had developed cool gear, a better name and a killer ad campaign rivaling the iPod, Steve Jobs might be looking for a new gig by now.

    kh

  7. Walls says:

    While I’m a big fan of YouTube and mob-ranking systems, I think the suggestion that YouTube is good for the big networks and current TV shows is incorrect.

    YouTube is better at allocating attention to higher-quality content. In other words, it’s better for the good stuff, but overall, it reduces the power that traditional broadcast media has over what we watch. In other words, YouTube really is bad for NBC (at least in its current form.)

  8. Just to address a few of the comments here – I like Bob because of his raw passion and style, which not everyone will like. And because he’s a music insider, his readers are folks in the business, and that means while what he says often seems “obvious” to tech folks, it’s often new to the music people.

  9. Vanilla Chin says:

    Let’s also remember one thing: NBC is promoting shows via YouTube, NOT actually putting the real shows on YouTube.

    This is an overhyped deal.

  10. Steve Bryant says:

    Bob is right that NBC made the right decision in taking advantage of the YouTube platform. But he misleads with the qualifier “finally.”

    The networks understood the benefits of marketing via YouTube many, many months ago. It merely takes them time to move the decision process through the corporate bureaucracy. And while yes, time is certainly a critical factor when business plans are exploding, we should give credit to the networks that “get it,” to use the valley’s clique-ish phrase.

    Cheers for the link,
    Steve Bryant

  11. Dan Malven says:

    I’m not a lawyer, and there are probably a million lawyers out there who could answer this correctly (and maybe already have in numerous other places) but I thought copyright law forced NBC to act to request the taking down of the infringing material. Because once they are notified that there is an infringement and if they don’t do anything about it, then it enters the public domain (maybe not technically, but practically?) and then anyone (not just YouTube, but anyone) can put it up and make money from selling ads, etc. So the point as to whether the YouTube posting was good or bad for business was rather moot, I think it was that to keep copyright ownership they had to request the taking down of it in a “timely manner”. Now they could drag their feet a bit and get more exposure for it before having it taken down, but they can only do that for so long.

    I may have the particulars wrong about the legal technicalities but I think I’m directionally correct. Any attorneys care to chime in and set the record straight?

  12. All YouTube needs to do is form alliances with various digital content stores and sell higher quality & portable formats for various devices and they will have a very competitive business model.

  13. Laurie Stevens says:

    This argument suggests anyone who doesn’t go along with copyright infringement is just “not with it.”

    Well, why don’t you ask a simple songwriter (who shares about 8 cents per CD for any song he manages to get published, with a publishing company, a co-writer and, often, the performer, too — earning roughly $17,000 for a gold album) how he or she feels about copyright infringement?

    NBC might experience a fluke of revenue influx. But for most of the small fish creating intellectual property, this kind of theft means the difference between choosing to eat and choosing to pay the mortgage… between continuing to make what they make for some small profit, or going to work for a megacorp and sluffing off their hopes of ever making a living from their own creations.

    The decision to share a creation (song, video, software, etc.) with the world, sans payment, is a decision that belongs to one entity – the owner. And if you think otherwise, why not just leave your doors unlocked when you head off to work each day?

    If you’re going to “report” on an issue, have the bravery to tell the whole story – not one (anecdotal) side designed to promote your own bias.

    Laurie Stevens

  14. Kathryn Fleming says:

    Sharing the (song, video, software, etc.) sans le Monde is a decision for for said owner/writer. There are sides to take regarding issue but allocations come from the heart. Much is needed in U.S. Copyright areas of Copyright protection and some CRC’s need to be thrown in the wastebasket. Bravery is the truth and only denial of recording companies in respected discussion needs addressed regarding “simple songwriters.” Avenues taking the “road less traveled,” sometimes an artist gets lost at “Ground Zero.” while stuck at the piano, or sitting by an easel, etc. “Reporting” an issue reflects everything and I am not a reporter nor are you unbiased, truth would be evidenced by reporting. Songwriters, artists, painters, etc. need monies from creations but factors that imbalance themselves aren’t adjusted in the asset column. Changes reflecting ownership of said creations truly affects home life as you stated retreating in despair for losses. I didn’t write music for 1 yr. as my royalty check disheartened me but I find myself writing/trying to write with more perfection. Sometimes not wanting to write, is residues. It is with conviction that “simple” songwriters, artists etc. “starving artists..etc.” neglected by “big business” forted have two options. One, is to attain due monies as held by record companies,(Hang ‘Em High,C. Eastwood movie..sorry) solicitors, or try another method of gains reaching public homes and hearts in order for current processes to work. Sometimes it isn’t precedents in one’s life to create as other more pressing familial chores dismember creativity times such as taking care of elderly parents, directing loving teenagers, etc. Responding to your “Googleness” yes, songwriters, artists, painters, creators in general belong to the owner and said owner usually has the bravery to state that they need respect of consumers, and noted achievements both nationwide and financially. This is not always the case today with Copyright owners signing cheap paying CRC’s and inattention of useful creators in various venues. Media today is a wonderful thing but regulated for production. It is unclear to me what NBC has to do with your topic as posted. I was hoping Daimler/Chrysler would listen to one of my tunes as I mention the word “Jeep” at the end of one of my Christmas Songs. So much for the poor, but not simple songwriter as I have written songs for the piano that are not only fun to play but of value…someday…A Copyright lasts for 70 years and the Lord knows who is that I won’t live as long as Abraham in the Bible. Not!!
    Yes, people work for cheap today…check out the minumn wage criteria…God Bless Us Today…