Sunday, March 25, 2007

YouTube vs ThemTube

News Corp and NBC announced today that they will be launching their own video site, one that reviews say may rival YouTube, the video-sharing community now owned by Google, and the defendant in a huge copyright case against Viacom.

The new site by News Corp and NBC promises to give viewers what they want...for free. Sure, there will be the obligatory commerical, the annoying banner ads, and probably lots of cookies tracking views and user data, but it is a step towards progress when these Big Media heavyweights agree to release the content of shows like The Simpsons and Saturday Night Live online, on their own terms.

Only a few months ago tech-naysayers were scolding sites like YouTube and claiming the end of video streaming for copyrighted material. And here we have the News Corp/NBC site springing up. The tribe has spoken. The people want content, they want it online, and they want it for free. Now the media outlets have to adapt themselves to those demands.

The only real downside, in my opinion, in these new sanctioned forums, is that the platform for sharing user-produced content disappears. People like YouTube not just for the Jon Stewart clips, but also because they like to see videos of other users, from people like them. YouTube is as much about community as it is about a new format of television. Projects by News Corp and NBC seem to gloss over that fact.

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