YouTube is a Friend, Not a Foe

    March 29, 2006

YouTube is capping video lengths to reduce copyright infringement, according Ars.

The company conducted an analysis of the videos in its system that are over 10 minutes long and found that the majority were full length, copyrighted videos from tv shows and movies. In response YouTube set up a paid Premium Content Program for professional videos.

I can certainly understand why YouTube had to put these measures in place. They don’t want to become the next Napster. Yet somehow I think that most of the networks and the marketers are missing the opportunity here to partner with YouTube.

Here you have this vibrant community of amateur content producers who are going to considerable efforts to post their own videos. Plus there many more who are consuming them. And yes, some of this content is produced by big media. My point is that YouTube is candy for the marketers and the TV networks. Everyone here wants to tune into video programming. In a TiVO driven world you couldn’t ask for more.

Rather than fighting YouTube, companies should be partnering with them, like MTV did. For example, advertisers could open source their creative into pieces, release them on YouTube and encourage the community to remix them into the next great TV ad. The content producers could release pilots into the community and partner with them to co-create the next show.

Time and again we’ve seen that when people aggregate into a content community they become accustomed to maintaining their rights there – whether they’re right or wrong. Rather than fight the community the content networks and the marketers need to find the magical middle ground of compromise. When will they learn?

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Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.