April 19, 2007
YouTube Preparing for Preemptive Copyright Protection, More Substantial Advertising

Earlier today, I wrote about the quote from Google CEO Eric Schmidt distinguishing the NBC Universal/News Corp. online video site from YouTube and claiming that the two cannot really be viewed as competitors. I agree.

But that quote came from a story with a much different focus, on the increasing ways in which YouTube hopes to combat copyright infringement on its site, including a new set of tools that will be tested and then rolled out this year which will allow content to be screened for copyright infringement before appearing on the site. As Google looks at how to create a successful business model surrounding the YouTube site, these issues are becoming increasingly pertinent.

The news came out of the National Association of Broadcasters Las Vegas convention earlier this week, where Schmidt spoke on Monday.

Daisy Whitney's TelevisionWeek article highlighted Eric's comment that these new tools would allow copyright owners to "claim their content," and Whitney writes, "As Google rolls out the additional copyright protection tools, the process will be automated and preemptive, letting Google and YouTube detect in advance when users upload unauthorized content."

As YouTube tries to move toward a way to more explicitly monetize its site, there are discussion of pre-roll and post-roll advertising. It remains to be seen how these changes in an effort to capitalize on the huge investment Google made into YouTube will resonate with the YouTube community.

Users are already feeling that YouTube's moving into the advertising realm and becoming more of a site for cross-platform distribution rather than emphasizing user autonomy will lose site of what really powers YouTube in the first place, quotability and grabability. See for instance the anger displayed by some fans during March Madness.

As I wrote last month, however, the key is to distinguish between YouTube the business and YouTube the community. The business model doesn't mean much without the community, though, and Google will have to tread carefully as it works out these deals with the conglomerates and starts inserting more substantial advertising.

After all, there are plenty of niche sites ready to take on disgruntled former members of the YouTube user community.

He also discussed Google's launch into television advertising, emphasizing that he didn't see Google's entry into TV advertising as a detriment to the traditional system but rather a way to create new systems to bring advertisers in. I wrote earlier this month about Google's advertising deal with Echostar, emphasizing that, "even if Google provides one with precise ways to understand what users do, the problem is in the assumption that user behavior is the metric that matters."