'NewTube': Will video content really be king?

'NewTube': Will video content really be king?

Summary: Nearly every company not named Google--News Corp., NBC, Yahoo, MSN and MySpace--has aligned on a new video venture that will be an alleged YouTube killer.


Nearly every company not named Google--News Corp., NBC, Yahoo, MSN and MySpace--has aligned on a new video venture that will be an alleged YouTube killer. A few months after this joint venture launches we'll find out if content is really king.

This new video site, called by NewTube by Paul Kedrosky and Clown Co. by Google--is expected to launch this summer (see Techmeme discussion).

So what will this launch tell us? Simply put, whether professional video content such as 24, The Simpson and Saturday Night Live really matter. If it does matter then viewers will put up with the copyright protections and the advertising and make the News Corp.-NBC site a success no matter how poorly managed it becomes.

As for that last point, let's not sugarcoat what's going to happen here. There are way too many cooks in this video kitchen. You can't graft two management teams from News Corp. and NBC together and expect this joint venture to go swimmingly unless General Electric, which owns NBC, does some Six Sigma magic to fuse these management teams. Anything is possible, but the odds are that Hollywood egos will get in the way of the user experience.

In fact, the most important part of this joint venture may be the distribution via Yahoo, MSN and MySpace. If those properties aren't handcuffed they will get the user experience right. In the end, News Corp. and NBC may not even need a destination site to go head to head with YouTube.

If content matters viewers will find professional video and YouTube and its user generated glory may take a tumble. If not we'll have a professional video site that flounders while YouTube continues to do well. The most likely scenario--you'll get two video neighborhoods that both do ok.

A few other takeaways from today's news:

MSN gets may get a leg up. As Mary Jo Foley notes Microsoft gets some video content for its ad platform. MSN Soapbox, a weaker video rival to YouTube, may benefit.

Google is getting more arrogant by the minute. Word is Google is referring to the new video venture as Clown Co. A bit cocky eh? Paul Kedrosky sums it up in his blog linked above:

"Google insiders have already re-christened NewTube as "Clown Co". While that's amusing, and I'm no NewTube booster, it is another reminder of the growing arrogance at Google HQ."

Management of this video joint venture sounds too complicated already.

From the statement:

"The new company will be located in New York and Los Angeles. A transitional management team led by NBC Universal’s Chief Digital Officer George Kliavkoff, along with an experienced group of executives from NBC Universal and News Corporation, will work together to launch the site. The company’s permanent management will be announced shortly, along with branding details and additional advertising partners. Each company will devote a significant marketing and promotional budget to the new site’s launch."

In sum, there are two coasts and a revolving door of managers and the company is a few hours old. The deal is so convoluted there are 11 media contacts at the bottom of the press release.

All involved would be better off if they handed off all the video to two grad students in a Silicon Valley garage so they could cook up "a rich consumer experience featuring personalized video playlists, mashups, online communities and video search."

Topic: Social Enterprise

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  • I believe so!!

    With everyone running towards it...I basically don't need a TV anymore. I can watch any show I want on my LCD monitor!!
  • Depends

    It really depends on if anyone can deliver something worth watching. Crappy shows are just that no matter if you watch them on network TV, a website, or DVD, or wherever.

    A six pack and fishing is way more fun than anything you can do on the internet. For me at least. There are thousands of things that people consider fun that doesn't involve staring at a screen.
  • You mean like

    Stallman and Linus T. and the GPL3 ???
  • Hollywood egos may not be the issue

    A bigger problem will be the Hollywood/MPAA/RIAA "our customers are all criminals" attitude. I'm guessing the site will end up being an on-line clone of commercial TeeVee, complete with - well - commercials that you can't bypass. Content will be whatever the MPAA's secret review committee of industry insiders allows us to see.

    Speaking of which: EVERYBODY who watches movies shold rent the documentary "This Film is Not Yet Rated". A real eye-opener.

    Like another poster said, you're better off going fishing.
    • Alexandre

      I don't think this is about an attitude, this is about competition and relevant competitor ...
      Alexandre Jaquet
      • Alexandre

        Shows and other related "items" have to be part on the new competition :)

        We will have more fun on it :)
        Alexandre Jaquet
  • NewTube won't be.

    Not in my opinion, at least.

    My generation progressed through their teens with the Web 1.0 -2.0 transitional Internet in the foreground (I'm currently 21). No longer is the Internet full of awkward, trite user pages and widespread misinformation; instead, it is a mammoth-sized snowball of people, opinions, and emerging cultural values that continues to grow exponentially every day.

    If there's anything more crystal clear, its that the Internet is not a passive place. The transition to Web 2.0 was made by the user with aid from the corporation, not the other way around.

    The fiery mob that I've grown up with will fight tooth-and-nail to prevent such a website from ever usurping the throne of Youtube.

    • Alexandre

      Youtube, google and other old feshioned websites can't be part on the new competition.

      They're to old fashioned ...
      Alexandre Jaquet
      • I assume you mean..

        I assume you mean, NBC and the like, Alexandre.

        Google is the undisputed king of Web 2.0 right now.

    • My generation

      If your generation is like my generation you will fight them around the water cooler and then stay quiet while the inovator (napster) gets destroyed in the legal system and the press and the man (itunes) replaces it. Those companies own the content and the content is king here.
      Sorry but both tooth and nail goes down the toilet when you have a mortgage. Its how countries end up fighting wars in Iraq :-)
  • Obvious question

    If this is an MSN production, is it going to be Windows-only, IE-only, WMP-only?
    tic swayback
  • You tube will fall

    Lets get real, if the big media companies and Hollywood align with this it will be the end of youtube.

    When the stars come out promoting it and their new movies and you see it everywhere at the oscars, youtube doesn't have a chance.

    My God most people vote for president based on what Hollywood tells them.
    Next thing you know they are showing sneak peaks or behind the scenes of American Idol and every crying girl will be there.

    Do you have any idea how much archived stuff they have to show, it will end up the greatest place on earth to get you TV fix.

    Sorry guys, my opinion, they will control...period
    • Just Add DRM To YouTube

      And they could compete head to head with hollywood. That's the only thing Hollywood has that everybody else may not have......DRM.
      Ole Man