The LAT is running a story about the not so secret, YouTube rival being created by News Corp and NBC-Universal, which is set to launch today. This cabal used to include CBS and Viacom but they droppped out somewhere between December and March. Had anyone bothered to ask me, I could’ve told them that their money was better spent on lunches and lap dances.
I havent seen the site, I’ve got no cool insider information and I dont even know what its gonna be called but given the reasoning behind the site I can assure its dead on arrival. The three main reasons its sure to flop are:
1) Control. The networks are creating the site in the hopes of controlling how their content gets used, shared and distributed online. This runs counter to what made GooTube popular, how people actually behave and therefore limits the usefulness of the site. So did this pass muster? I’d guess that in a dank colorless conference room, a bunch of middle management MBA’s convinced a non-MBA executive that this was a good idea by boring her into submission using PowerPoint.
2) Content. Millions of people are uploading tons of content that stretches across the interest spectrum to GooTube. From Japaness public humiliation and to American buffoonery to old ballet performances and academic lectures, its all available. Some of it may only appeal to 10 people and some of it may appeal to millions but it can all be found on GooTube. How will two hit driven content companies like News Corp and NBC, offer anything comparable? Of course they dont have a snowflakes chance in hell of generating the kind of serendipitous discovery, niche connection and mass appeal that GooTube can facilitate.
3) Cooks! Name one loosely knit media association, that doesnt involve ownership stakes or JV rules, that has been successful. Look at the partner list, NBC-Universal, News Corp, AOL, Yahoo, MSN. How’d they cludge this group together? Two content folks with divergent strategies (think Fox news vs MSNBC) and three competing portals. What natural connections do they have? How do they support each others efforts? These arent natural partners with complementary strength and weaknesses pairs. Its a an association Google hater getting together to drink their own haterade.
Far from challenging GooTube, I’m willing to bet that whatever NBC launches it’ll be about as popular as the Zune and less interesting then MyVideoKaraoke.