Good News, Bad News at GooTube

Lots of news today around YouTube’s efforts to get big content providers under agreement to provide their stuff to YouTube.

First, the good news. The BBC has agreed to allow some of their content onto YouTube in exchange for a share of advertising revenue. Only promotional clips will be included, not full length programs. This is a small win for Google – the big win will be if/when content owners put full episodes of shows on YouTube. Meanwhile, YouTube is also hyping the fact that they’ve entered into 1,000 or so agreements with small an independent content producers as well.

The bad news – Viacom is going guns blazing at YouTube, announcing today that “traffic to its MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon websites rose sharply over the past month” since they demanded that YouTube pull down over 100,000 clips. This conflicts with a previous statement (sort of, indirectly) by CBS that promotional clips on YouTube drove strong viewership gains in offline television.

Where do the other networks stand? NBC recently slammed YouTube as well. Fox has done a lot of behind-the-scenes trashing, although their $900 million advertising deal with Google prohibits them from openly attacking YouTube. A widely expected deal with CBS that would include both radio ad time and content on YouTube has failed to materialize, and CBS isn’t saying much.

Lots of posturing by the networks, and Google hasn’t helped things by putting offers on the table and then pulling them, frustrating Viacom and the other networks. Ultimately everyone wants to get a deal done, and most of these announcements are tactical moves to grab more of the advertising pie. Once one networks breaks from the pack and starts to provide full length programs on YouTube in exchange for a share of advertising revenue, I expect the rest to fall in short order.