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Google Has Poor Networking Skills

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Working with TV networks to get their content on YouTube has been harder for Google to figure out than any technical challenge it might face.

Google Has Poor Networking Skills
Google Has Poor Networking Skills

Whenever they say it’s not about the money, it’s about the money. That’s doubly true in the world of Big Media, where Google hasn’t been able to get the likes of CBS, Viacom, or NBC to dance to its tune.

We find the news of troubles between Google and CBS, as noted by Rafat Ali at PaidContent, of particular interest. Both CBS and Google loudly complained this time last year when it was suggested CBS would bring its for-pay episodes of programs in-house.

Those programs like Survivor did make it to Google Video as well as the CBS website. But now that the model would change from direct purchase to a share of advertising revenue, CBS sees Google’s $500 million, five-year ad sharing deal as not workable.

We see this as an indication that CBS wanted more than a guaranteed half-billion dollar payday, and that they were afraid the market for online video and ads could really take off by 2012. There are also control issues at stake; Big Media types have big egos, and simply handing Google control of a big revenue stream threatens those egos.

Viacom very publicly demanded the removal of some 100,000 clips from YouTube. Like CBS, Viacom had a guaranteed half-billion dollar deal on the table. Instead, Viacom took Comedy Central and its other content properties off the table. They are doing a deal with P2P video company Joost.

Ali also cited a six-page letter sent by NBC Universal to Google, demanding unauthorized NBC content be removed from YouTube and kept off the site. Some NBC content like promotional clips remain, part of a summer deal between the network and Google.

Google doesn’t seem to have anticipated this kind of reception from the networks. Money and egos are in play, and in Big Media it’s difficult to make people see the future when all they see is a present that doesn’t feature them front, top, and center of any deal.


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