Forrester on YouTube

2 Oct ’06

Interesting to see Forrester’s opinion on YouTube (in a piece titled “YouTube is goin’ down”) mesh so well with mine (from a CNet piece):

Copyright issues that have plagued video-sharing site YouTube since its official launch almost a year ago will mean that “YouTube will get sued. And it will lose,” wrote Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler, analysts for Forrester Research, on a blog posted last week.

Lawsuits will trigger a chain reaction, according to the analysts, in which YouTube will be forced to remove all copyrighted material–and that means excising most of the professionally made content. What’s left will leave YouTube with videos that are “a lot less interesting,” said the Forrester analysts.

The Forrester opinion comes three months after research firm IDC came to a similar conclusion and less than a week after HDNet founder Mark Cuban told a group of advertisers that “only a moron would buy YouTube.” Both Forrester and IDC research companies argue that YouTube will face the same battle fought and lost by file-sharing site Napster.

You may tell me that companies like Warner Music are happy to work with YouTube, just as Bertelsmann was willing to work with Napster,” the analysts wrote. “But for every company that wants to do a Warner-type deal, there will be others like Universal that won’t stand for it.

“It only takes one unhappy media company–Disney, Sony, CBS or News Corp. for example–to force the company’s hand. And the cases on this point, from Napster to Grokster at the Supreme Court, are clear.”

Unfortunate, but likely true.

Which would leave YouTube with lots of Aunt Jenny content, a bit of great user-generated content and some permissioned content – cool, sure, but ultimately much less interesting. Unless they develop something far more interesting on the technology side – something that makes their role a much more compelling value for the creators.

It’s worth noting, too, that by syndicating, YouTube is showing the developers of valuable content how to ignore YouTube. After all, why not host the content oneself, and use one’s own site and syndication to make it available anywhere else on the ‘net? NBBC, but much more so. If the technology is not difficult, surely the developers of professionally-created content can turn to their existing tech partners to host the content. Others will surface to provide the tools, no doubt.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Rob Hyndman October 2, 2006 at 21:02

Thanks, Fred. Time to call your lawyer, I think – he doesn’t have the Grokster test quite right. Especially after the trial reconsideration.

And of course I have checked YouTube lately – loads of the top videos are infringing (I think the Forrester and IDC guys can be expected to at least get that right) – it varies a lot, but it’s been about 50% of the top viewed on the occasions I’ve checked recently. Not scientific, of course.

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fred October 2, 2006 at 20:37

i’ve never understood why people pay money for flawed analysis like that.

if you look at the most popular videos on youtube

http://www.youtube.com/browse?s=mp

very few of them come from mainstream media.

and if you read the opinion in the grokster case, the service has to be devoid of “non infringing” uses to be shut down.

you can get better information on the blogs for free than the crap these high priced research shops shovel out.

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