Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Week in Review: To Google and Beyond

Several Google/YouTube-related stories were reported this week. These involved:

Google and the music industry: In the continuing effort to find a way to make content more profitable online, YouTube and Universal Music Group (UMG) have joined forces to launch a new music video service. The site, named Vevo, will offer professionally-produced videos from UMG. According to the Los Angeles Times, "YouTube will provide the underlying technology, Universal will furnish the content, and the partners will split the advertising revenue." The hope, apparently, is to make this the "online equivalent of MTV;"

Google and the film industry: One week after Disney announced that it will be licensing select content to YouTube, it is being reported that Sony is negotiating for a handful of feature-length films to be available through YouTube as well;

Google and the newspaper industry: In conjunction with the annual meeting of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA), the Associated Press declared that it will be more aggressive in determining how and where its content is used online in the future. In response, Google CEO Chairman Eric Schmidt (speaking at the NAA gathering) warned: "I would encourage everybody, think in terms of what your reader wants. These are ultimately consumer businesses and if you piss off enough of them, you will not have any more.” Meanwhile, Jeff Jarvis posted on his blog what he thought Schmidt should have said to the NAA. His words are not nearly as kind as those offered by Schmidt.

And in other news:

The absurd story of the week: With the Sundance Channel and IFC now part of the same conglomerate, Rainbow Media, the two cable networks are being sold together to potential sponsors. Rainbow is promoting them as a premier venue for upscale consumers (or as they call them, "independently wealthy consumers"). The company has even developed a new theory, "Indienomics," to convey the way it views its relationship to its audience (excuse me while a suppress a snort here). As Ad Age describes it, Indienomics seeks to calm "consumer-related chaos through relevant marketing." For added amusement value, I recommend looking at IFC/Sundance's discussion of the five tenets of Indienomics.

The latest on pilot season: Based on the number of each in the works, it seems sitcoms (especially those of the multi-camera variety) are in again while serialized dramas are out once more. Of course, none of the networks have solidified their schedules, so much can still change.

The better late than never story of the week: Time Warner gets one step closer to spinning off AOL.

And finally, the you've got to be kidding me remake-of-the-week: Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures are moving forward with a new version of Clash of the Titans starring Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes.

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