'Marketplace' Report: YouTube Challenges Big media companies are taking their best shot at Google's YouTube site. NBC Universal is starting an online video service, and Viacom is suing YouTube for copyright infringement. What do these developments mean for Google and its business plan?
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'Marketplace' Report: YouTube Challenges

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'Marketplace' Report: YouTube Challenges

'Marketplace' Report: YouTube Challenges

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

From NPR News, this is DAY TO DAY.

Look out YouTube. There's a new online video-sharing service coming and it's coming from companies as rich as YouTube's owner Google. Steve Tripoli from MARKETPLACE is here. And Steve, can you shed a little light on this? Who are these upstarts?

STEVE TRIPOLI: Well, upstarts hardly, Madeleine. It's joined venture of NBC Universal and the FOX television and movie people at News Corporation, hardly movies available at an as yet unnamed Internet portal. And this is a potent combination not only because these are two of the most widely watch TV networks, but because their contents and maybe more will also go out on a lot of other popular Web sites.

BRAND: Such as?

TRIPOLI: Such as Yahoo, MSN, AOL, MySpace, which is also owned by News Corp. So Google must be feeling a little like today's video is "The Empires Strike Back."

BRAND: Well, you know, they're pretty - they're big kids over there at Google and, you know, not poor. Is this a real worry for them?

TRIPOLI: Well, you know, this whole online video thing is a long way from a mature market. So it's hard to say if any of these players have anything to worry about here. It's a, you know, new world.

BRAND: Well, okay, this market is pretty new, so is it possible that maybe the media companies can all win, there can be multiple video-sharing services?

TRIPOLI: That's certainly one potential outcome, you know. Don't forget, these companies have lots of revenue streams anyway. Google sells ads, the TV and movie houses have their networks, their Web sites, theater distribution to name a few, so they're building on strengths here.

BRAND: And what about the public? What do we get out of this?

TRIPOLI: Well, choice for starters, and a chance to see a broader combination of both this new world of consumer-generated video that's symbolized by YouTube, and the older world, the professionally produced content. So, and both sides will have some of both of course on this site. So can it work for everyone? Sure, but Andrew Frank at the tech watching group Gartner says consumers may find themselves at least initially suffering from choice fatigue.

Mr. ANDREW FRANK (Research Director, Gartner, Inc.): The real enemy here, I think, is complexity and difficulty in consumers finding what they want. At the end of the day, any deal that gets maximum distribution and maximum revenue for a host of players is a good deal for everyone.

BRAND: You know, Steve, there's another aspect here that we've covered on this show, and that's the whole business of copyright and compensation problems. A lot of these new competitors are pretty angry at seeing their copyrighted content posted by YouTube for everyone to see.

TRIPOLI: Yeah. Boy, I'll tell you, we're really getting into the legal thickets now, Madeleine. See the current laws, they pretty much came before anyone every dreamed up the explosion of consumer-generated online video. So, I guess we'll have to leave that one for the politicians to figure out.

BRAND: All right. Thank you, Steve. Steve Tripoli of Public Radio's daily business show MARKETPLACE, produced by American Public Media.

(Soundbite of music)

JOHN YDSTIE, host:

Next time on MARKETPLACE: Hard drive crushers, CD shredders, self-destructing flash drives, oh my. More about nifty inventions to destroy your old data and the rest of today's business news. It's from American Public Media.

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