In a last ditch attempt to salvage some
lost revenues pride, the major TV networks are banding together to take on Internet video juggernaut YouTube. News Corp., NBC, CBS, and Viacom are on the verge of signing a deal and an official announcement could come at any point.
Several of the networks were naive in dismissing the YouTube phenomenon as a short-term fad. Now that it has solidified itself in social culture, the stubborn networks have no other choice but to bite the bullet and unite in an all-out offensive.
Site content will obviously be provided in large part by the networks, but also by users. Revenue will be generated via advertising.
The deal may be in jeopardy, however, due to a conflict of interest between MySpace parent News Corp. and CBS, as the former has an advertising agreement with Google.
No formal company statements were provided as of yet.
So… what to make of all of this?
Well, for one, it proves that the new web has opened up the playing field for small players. With relatively low financial resources and manpower, a start-up has the potential to tackle an old, stagnant industry - and succeed in a short period of time. YouTube has proven this. Skype is another good example. Both took on different industries, but prevailed in the ‘telecom’ arena - one in TV, the other in telephone.
What’s next for online video and TV?
I have no idea, really. But I know how to find out. Visit The Venice Project. This extremely stealth start-up is the brainchild of KaZaa and Skype founder Niklas Zennstrom. With two previous super successes, I am hedging my bets that Zennstrom has something revolutionary cooking up his sleeve and I can’t wait to find out. PR is absolutely buzzing around this story and will only flourish as more details become available.
On the website, The Venice Project promises the following:
“We’re working on a project that combines the best things about television with the social power of the internet - a project that gives viewers, advertisers and content owners more choice, control and creativity than ever before.”
That sounds exciting to me. I can’t wait to see what these guys are scheming up. I expect it will be nothing short of exceptional.