As some industry watchers believe, Viacom’s takedown order against YouTube earlier this month could simply be a negotiating tactic. Indeed, I spoke with Viacom VP Corporate Communications Jeremy Zweig last week, and he told me, “We were sort of hoping throughout the process that we could arrive at some sort of deal with YouTube…and realized lately they weren’t moving particularly quickly.”
The company was looking for YouTube to help protect its copyrighted material, as well as help monetize it. Though YouTube pretty much denied it when I spoke with them last week, I wouldn’t be surprised if the removal of popular YouTube clips of Viacom shows like “The Daily Show,” “Colbert Report,” “South Park” and “Laguna Beach” cuts into YouTube’s traffic numbers.
This isn’t the first time Viacom has sent removal requests YouTube’s way, Zweig said. “These are actions that we took before,” he said. As reported in my piece today about Viacom’s recent digital muscle-flexing, “Viacom has made similar requests of YouTube in the past involving deletion of ‘several thousand’ videos. This time, he said, Viacom sent YouTube 100,000 separate removal notices.”
Evidently, Viacom had help doing it, working with other parties to identify copyrighted material on various sharing sites.
So, back to the negotiations. As Zweig added, “We would love to do a deal with [YouTube], but it became clear they weren’t prepared to do one imminently.”
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