Broadcasting and Cable is reporting that Viacom has pulled out of the widely discussed talks between a number of major media companies to create what’s being called a would-be YouTube killer. Viacom had been working with NBC Universal, News Corp. and CBS on creating one giant online video site, the future of which now falls into question.
Many people have contended that large mainstream media companies could never create the kind of vibrant community that grew up around YouTube in its early days. It’s hard to imagine what a site run jointly by all of those media companies would look like. Several of their many properties are in direct competition, for example. Collaboration on such a scale, interfacing with user generated content, sounds like an unbelievably complicated task – even if it were judged legally acceptable. It reminds me of the music world’s hydra in gestation, MusicForAmerica, a contest site run by Epic Records, Universal Music Group, EMI and ClearChannel.
Everyone wants a piece of the user generated action. It’s incredible what a force YouTube grew to be so quickly. The potential it and related services hold for the future is clearly an even bigger threat to old style media.