Viacom Announces Music Video Content Syndication To Compete Against YouTube
After Viacom yanked its collection of videos off of Google’s YouTube, the concern has announced that it is laying the groundwork for its videos to be available to hundreds of thousands of other sites. In the next few months, Web users will be able to grab videos from nearly all MTV-owned sites and post them on their own blogs or Web sites.
Viacom, owner of MTV Networks and the Paramount Pictures movie studio, had been planning for this move long before it demanded earlier this month that YouTube remove more than 100,000 unauthorized Viacom video clips from its site, after failing to reach a distribution deal.
MTV, once the arbiter of cool for hip young viewers, is now playing catch-up to online social networks like News Corp’s MySpace.com. MTV had tried to buy MySpace, but it lost out to Rupert Murdoch, leading to the ouster of Viacom’s chief executive.
Viacom has not yet ruled out a deal with YouTube and many analysts believe the latest blowout is merely a negotiating tactic. But Viacom also sees staying relevant to a new generation of media consumers as a top priority. To do so, it is borrowing ideas from the very companies it competes against.
Since December, Viacom’s Comedy Central Web site has been allowing viewers to embed its videos on their own sites. Other Viacom brands, such as Ifilm and AddictingGames, have offered this feature even longer. The idea, borrowed from sites like YouTube and MySpace, helps Viacom rely less on sites like YouTube by reaching viewers wherever they migrate, even if it is a friend’s blog page. At the same time, the company can control its own programming and advertising.
Connecting MTV Networks’ global network of more than 150 Web sites has been time-consuming, but executives see linking the myriad technological platforms as a key to its future. Reaching viewers everywhere they go has been a key tenet of new business models on the Internet. Even as companies explore their own strategies, several big media companies, including Viacom and News Corp., have discussed forming a rival to YouTube, sources said earlier.