I know it seems sexy right now for folks to comment on how you should let the community download and post music, videos, etc on social network sites like YouTube, MySpace, and etc for free. However, I keep asking questions on how these companies, bands, etc make money in the long term and how they recoup their investment. Every time I post a comment on expert sites I get similar answers like: don't wreck the community, these are big companies they'll make it up elsewhere, the classic Digital Millennium Copyright Act reply, or my favorite which is silence. One thing is clear that going after the end-user who posts the content is wrong because at the end of the day, they make nothing off of it and after all this is about money right?
You know how you make money if you are a major content owner? Embrace the community and cut deals with as many social networks as possible. That way, you get paid advertising and let the social networking shells work their magic with traffic, commentary, and friend building. You know like CBS is doing with YouTube.
It seems that after this deal has been in place which includes a CBS Channel on YouTube, CBS has seen awesome online as well as offline results. CBS is averaging over 850,000 views per day and have seen TV ratings boosted on Letterman as well as The Late, Late Show. For a detailed look at the numbers, check out this press release found over at YouTube - those are some nice views. The only problem right now with the CBS Channel on YouTube is the lack of enough advertising units to generate money (preroll video) and I'm not talking Google AdSense. The other disappointing piece of the press release is a lack of more concrete numbers - for example, when I've reported numbers for online videos I report minutes viewed and average time spent in the unit, not just viewership....no reason why the internet can't do better than counting views.
See, embracing the community while making money and protecting your copyrights can all be accomplished at the same time. All it takes is a little deal-cutting, cooler heads, and a realization that this is the world shaping up in front of us. To ignore the online video wave is like putting your head in the sand when Google's stock came out at $90. If you do, you might end up viewing consumers as thieves....