Friday, August 04, 2006

Don't underestimate rights issues

Veoh just got sued for copyrighted content that was on their network.
There's been so much hype about user-generated content. Don't get me wrong, I do see how technology and user-generated content is a new class in itself. But is it the right model for quality entertainment on par with professional films and tv programming? Why doesn't America's Home Videos dominate the airwaves? User-generated content, the clip culture, is just one intermediate step in the evolution of Internet Video.

Just consider:
1) Copyrights:
A large percentage of the content on sites such as YouTube that focus on user generated content is pirated or, at best, are stretching fair-use rules. Whoever owns all those funny SNL clips will want to be able to control their brand and their ability to monetize at some point or another. Yeah, and let's not even get into advertisers putting their ads next to pirated movie clips . . . I wonder how much YouTube and Metacafe have budgeted for legal defense? Probably not enough

2) Amatuer vs Professional:
Professional content producers/owners don't want their stuff presented in the same boat with pirated, amatuer content

3) Quality Experience
Well-written, professionally produced movies and tv shows are in a different world than the user-generated stuff. I believe it'll be more compelling -- just how many episodes of America's Home Videos can you watch?

The winner will be whoever can bring together the technology, content, and business model to make that personalized, high-quality experience available as easily as sitting in front of your tv. There is a long tail of PROFESSIONAL film and tv. Who's going to start making a business out of this?

Internet Video's Dark Matter

Look at Veoh's traffic after they removed their porn categories. Way, way down.
Just like the internet in general, porn will dominate the rest in terms of monetization, content quantity, and traffic when it comes to internet video. But this dark matter is seldom addressed seriously.
So what's the lesson for us this time around? Someone will be making lots of money from internet video porn if they aren't already.