November 24, 2008

Monty Python goes YouTube, is it enough?

Monty Python have now entered YouTube with some sort of official aim to stop the unauthorized clips of the group on the site. But is it enough?

YouTube has had problems with copyrighted material for a long time. The model which they have chosen consists of an active identification tool where they search the content against a reference library with copyrighted material proved by the rights holders. You can also file a complaint on one of the videos stating that it is unauthorized material. The rights holders can then decide on either to block the content, track the content or monetize from the content.

Monty Python have chosen to start uploading their own content to YouTube, they have so far uploaded 24 videos in their channel. A rather small number if they are serious with wanting to give access to good quality content. But I believe that their aim is more related towards getting attention than anything else. At least since 24 clips won’t stop the flow of Monty Python content, as now there are around 30 000 videos relating to the group.

Interactive advertizing and privacy

An interesting follow-up on the digital fingerprinting technology used by YouTube, to identify copyrighted content, is to start using directed advertizing in relation to the content shown in other programs and other places than the original one.

We still see the rise of video content on the web being monetized in a good way as something which is to come. Google are watching YouTube closely to find out how and where to make money from the service. One way can be to continue with the watermarking and ad based revenue streams, both on and off the platform.


I do however see problems in following the users too closely in their use of video content both on and off since it brings up privacy issues. I do especially see those issues arising when it comes to video since it is more disclosing of private issues than for instance music.

Although this can be somewhat solved with opt in or opt out alternatives for the users. It still is a problem since they are likely to get more and more used to the Big Brother like monitoring.

Where to go?

I think we are still in the emerging stage where the content providers are trying out different business models and different rights solutions to their content. Some, like Monty Python, are still in the setting where they think they will sell DVDs and use YouTube as an advertisement channel for the physical products.

My hope is however that the rights holders are going to see the potential in spreading the content, using the digital highways to expand their cake.

Some issues has to be solved, and they are in the emerging of being solved. The first one is to find good models to take in revenue. Ad based or subscription, or some other innovative way.

The second one is to go global on the rights. We live in a globalized world where it makes no or little sense to have diversified rights to digital content. There could be diversified rights to the revenues, but the access has to be global. More on that in a later post.

So, Monty Python might be funny. This is why 24 clips will not be anywhere near enough to stop the unauthorized content of them on the web.

When will I be able to watch “the dead parrot” with complements from Cleese and the boys?

Johan Örneblad

[Via DN]

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