YouTube had a starring role at Advertising Week over the past five days in New York City. For Mark Cuban, the video sharing site plays the villain (see “Mark Cuban: HDNet, YouTube, Mavericks and the art of calculated hype,”) while for NBC the “clip culture” wins best supporting role (see “NBC on YouTube: great for promos, but no money in sight” and "YouTube barter economy: Where is the cash?"). YouTube itself, however, was missing in action all week.
MySpace and Facebook were represented in Advertising Week keynotes, Microsoft chose Advertising Week as the venue to launch its “Digital Advertising Solutions,” even Google conceded a minor panel appearance. YouTube, however, didn’t show up for “North America’s largest and most diverse gathering of advertising and media leaders.”
Why did YouTube diss Advertising Week while the “biggest names” in advertising and media either sang its praises or projected its demise? YouTube is a riddle in need of a solution.
The YouTube “Junk Culture” Riddle
YouTube is revered for its touted “100 million videos streamed daily.” The YouTube “video” experience, however, is “junk” from many angles:
Junk copyright protection.
In “YouTube’s 100 million videos: quantity vs. quality” I reference co-founder Chad Hurley on YouTube’s “clip culture” serving as “quick entertainment breaks”:
We are not trying to stream full-length programming…The site specializes in short—typically 2-minute—homemade, comic videos created by users.
What kinds of two-minute “videos” are YouTubers creating? Junk Clips, such as:“Male Restroom Etiquette”
“Sexy Pole Dancer”
“My sis practicing the rewind sequence”
In “Value of YouTube ‘clip culture’? Junk CPMs” I cite Jason Calacanis on the low CPMs he judges YouTube video ads could command:
$15 CPM for 10 second preroll on unqualified video is not gonna happen. It would be more like a $2-3 "junk" CPM like you see around the web today. $15-25CPMs are reserved for *qualified* videos with a high editorial benchmark. If an advertiser is going to break the $5 CPM barrier they are going to want to know what type of video is on the other side with very rare exceptions. Real branding folks do not just throw their advertisements on content. They want to be associated with high-quality editorial…
They are not going to sellout their inventory. When you have as much ad space as YouTube or MySpace you are never going to have any scarcity, and that is what drives high CPMs. Niche properties get the $15-25CPMs because they are sold out. YouTube’s flood of traffic is not going to sellout.
JUNK COPYRIGHT PROTECTION
In “YouTube barter economy: Where is the cash?” I discuss how even YouTube “authorized” content partners, such as NBC, aren’t adequately protected from copyright infringement at YouTube:
Universal Music Group recently indicated that it will not stand for YouTube’s copyright infringement, as I discuss in “YouTube, MySpace at risk: UMG seeks millions of dollars from ‘copyright infringers.’”
'We believe these new businesses are copyright infringers and owe us tens of millions of dollars. How we deal with these companies will be revealed shortly.'
YouTube even seems to be falling short of removing unauthorized copies of NBC content. A search on “NBC” at YouTube yields many NBC promo clips for its shows uploaded by YouTube “member” NBC as well as:
“Miss Universe 2006 NBC” uploaded by “nunum999”
“Diana NBC Olympic Interview” uploaded by “katysue7”
“Xandria-Ravenheart (Live Unplugged at NBC)” uploaded by “thenomad15”…
Why are the unauthorized NBC clips still on YouTube? YouTube hasn’t identified them? NBC is “OK” with them?...
YouTube’s announcement does not indicate that YouTube plans on implementing its forthcoming “sophisticated copyright identification tools” for the benefit of all professional content creators. YouTube suggests that its “advanced content identification and reporting architecture” will only be made available to those companies agreeing to its “deal” terms.
Universal Music Group apparently has not acquiesced to YouTube’s cashless barter economy.
The YouTube “clip culture” is also a YouTube “junk culture”. Can a junk culture be worth $1.5 billion?