People in big media companies sometimes ask me about YouTube and the content conundrum. In short: Should they post their stuff up there, or not? My answer comes back as sort of a koan – yes, of course, do both.
Mark Cuban, who is a consistent and very vocal YouTube critic, points out a few issues as to why. I have to admit, I think he is onto something here. (OK, I don’t always agree with him, but I do always read him…). In short, Cuban says, use YouTube. After all, everyone else is.
There is something almost subversive in using YouTube as a marketing or promotional venue for content that can be found on another site. If you are a big media company, why, don’t just post trailers, post stuff that you create specifically for the YouTube audience. If it gets your knickers in a bunch, don’t post the whole thing (unless of course you have a deal you like). If you don’t (in Cuban’s example – the Oscars- there was no deal), well, use YouTube as the best promotion network ever invented.
If what you post works, Google will be motivated to quickly cut a deal on your terms to share revenues with your content. It’s not like Google hasn’t already proven it’s ready to do so. It’s just that big media companies have been afraid of doing anything until they get a Deal. But, getting a Deal means hundreds of thousands of dollars of legal fees and months (if not years) of wasted time. For now, strengthen your position by using YouTube as a way to promote what you already have. Is that so wrong? I’d be interested in anyone’s opinion saying it is. Because in the end, the answer lies not in some theoretical argument, but in the attention given by the folks watching and reacting to what you post. If they hate what you do, stop doing it and figure out a way to give them what works. If they appreciate it as a way to navigate to your site, why, you’ve won. As Mark wrote:
Rather than sending take down notices, they should be leveraging the technology and medium and making it their own.
Hear hear. YouTube subverted your model, Big Media. Time to subvert it back. YouTube is a platform. Are you using it? Or are you waiting for the Deal? Forget the deal….figure out how to use what’s already there! If you get good at it, well, the Deal gets a lot easier to do.