This Just In: YouTube Is Ginormous!

kingkonglivesYou already know this, but it’s always good to be reminded: In online video, there’s YouTube, and then there’s everybody else. Today’s data point: Comscore’s (SCOR) August video report, which shows Google’s video site generating 10 billion views and owning 39.6% of the market.

That’s 10 billion views, and that’s just counting Web surfers from the U.S. Factor in international visitors, and… it would be a lot bigger.

The rest of the rankings look about the same as they as they always do — puny compared to Google’s (GOOG) status. That is, if you add the next 9 biggest sites up together they won’t come close to matching YouTube’s share. But for the record, Hulu gained share but lost a position to its corporate cousin Fox Interactive Media/MySpace, its corporate cousin from News Corp (NWS). And Time Warner’s AOL (TWX) replaced Disney’s ABC (DIS) at the bottom of the rankings. Click chart to enlarge:
comscore chart

Yet another reason it’s amazing that it took Warner Music Group nine months to hammer out a deal to get its video back on YouTube — and bear in mind that they’re not there yet. If you’re in the music video business, and you pull your videos off the world’s biggest video site, you better have a very good reason to do so.

In other shocking news: This movie is 12 years old. That’s older than Google!

How the YouTube-Warner Music Deal Got Done: Meet Vevo Jr.

green_day_Warner Music and YouTube, co-owners of the one of the Web’s nastiest spats, are about to patch things up. How’d they do it? By cutting a deal that looks a lot like the one YouTube has already made with Universal Music Group.

Last December, talks between Warner and YouTube to renew a licensing deal broke down, and Warner’s videos disappeared from the world’s largest video site. Now, as Advertising Age has reported, an agreement is in the works that will bring Green Day, Madonna and their label-mates back to the site.

What hasn’t been reported, so far: The deal terms themselves. Neither company is talking, but sources familiar with the negotiations tell me the new pact will be similar to the one Google’s (GOOG) video unit struck earlier this year with Universal Music Group.

That deal created Vevo, a sort of “Hulu for music videos,” owned by Universal and Sony (SNE). So think of Warner’s deal as a “son of Vevo.”

The big idea is the same: Try to create more value for videos by limiting their distribution and creating a more ad-friendly atmosphere around them, and share ad revenue between YouTube and the videos’ owner. The big points:

  • Unlike Vevo, Warner and YouTube won’t be creating a separate site for Warner videos, and Warner won’t be creating a separate company dedicated to its videos. Instead, YouTube will help Warner create a “premium advertising platform” for its videos within YouTube.
  • Warner will take primary responsibility for selling its videos, and YouTube will receive a cut of the revenue.
  • Warner will no longer receive a licensing fee each time one of its videos is played.

I gather that a lot of this is still being hashed out, and some of this will evolve even after the deal is inked. For instance, Warner needs to figure out how it’s going to sell advertising for its clips, since it doesn’t have its own sales force. Timing is also up in the air: Even after the two sides formally announce the pact, users shouldn’t expect to see Warner videos instantly reappearing on YouTube; it may be that they only get rolled out as the new ad platform is built.

Then there’s the ad platform itself: I haven’t been able to get a concrete definition of what this is supposed to look like, but for now, I’m imagining something like the “channels” YouTube has made for partners like ESPN, except they’d be made on an artist-by-artist basis.

All in all, this sounds like a fair deal. Warner loses a guaranteed revenue stream, but if its contention about the value of its videos is correct, it will make even more than it did under the old arrangement. Meanwhile, YouTube gets to hang onto “premium” inventory without being locked into the kind of  pay-per-play arrangement that helped drive the site’s expenses sky-high.

The potential downside for YouTube: If this works–or if the Vevo deal works–it will have to create similar packages/portals/platforms to retain or attract other “premium” content suppliers, like, say Hollywood studios. But given that the site has had limited success getting those guys on board so far, that’s not the worst fate in the world.

In the meantime, even though Green Day is Warner act, you can still find plenty of its clips on YouTube–it’s just that most of them are odds and ends like this grainy concert video:

Vevo, Universal Music’s Hulu for Video, Gets a Salesman

david kohlVevo, the music industry’s attempt to create a Hulu-like hub for its videos, is going to attract a lot of eyeballs when it launches later this year. Here’s the guy who’s supposed to attract advertisers: David Kohl, a former Nokia executive who starts work today as the site’s sales boss.

Kohl’s job is a key one at the venture, whose premise is that the music industry can do a better job of selling its video inventory than sites like Google’s YouTube (GOOG). Vevo is a joint venture owned (for now) by Sony (SNE) and Vivendi’s Universal Music Group; YouTube will help power the site and will share in some of its revenue.

In theory, there could be a lot of dollars to go around. When Vevo opens its doors later this year, it is expected to generate some 450 million video streams a month. In theory, the fact that a single company will control the way the videos and displayed and distributed will make those streams more attractive to advertisers.

vevo-logoBut there are plenty of skeptics who think the site will flounder, in large part because the music industry has never figured out how to run a successful consumer business, and the media business has a terrible track record when it comes to joint ventures. In Vevo’s favor: They said the same thing about Hulu, and that has been a success, at least operationally.

Kohl will run a six-person sales team he intends to expand, people familiar with Vevo’s strategy tell me. Up until now, Vevo head Rio Caraeff has been overseeing sales himself — and learning on the job, since he didn’t have any sales experience of his own. Vevo now employs about 45 people.

At Nokia, Kohl ran the company’s interactive ad group; he has also put in time at Viacom’s MTV Networks, Vivendi Universal and Comedy Central.

Former CBS DJ Adam Carolla Gets a New Gig: CBS Podcast Host

carolla-shotEarlier this year, I wrote about Adam Carolla, who used to be a popular DJ for CBS Radio and now hosts his own popular podcast. My take: Carolla is even better on the Web than he is on the air, but I worried that he’d have a hard time turning his talent and Internet audience into money.

Turns out he’s figured out how to do it: By going back to work for CBS.

The broadcaster, which canned Carolla from his radio job earlier in the year, is now going to sponsor his podcast. It will promote the show, handle ad sales and let Carolla program his own Web radio station.

The press release announcing the deal describes it as a “partnership.” I’m trying to figure out if that means Carolla will become an employee again or if it’s a real partnership, whereby, say, he retains ownership of his show and shares revenue with CBS (CBS).

I’m guessing it’s the former, since selling ads for podcasts still requires a lot of work and not that much return. It’s much easier for CBS to sell ads against a local radio station with an audience of a million or more than for Carolla’s show, which reaches an average of 130,000 people at a time.

Still, Carolla’s show is frequently in Apple (AAPL) iTunes’s Top 10 podcast list, and someday, someone will figure out how to take advantage of its (relatively) small but dedicated audience. And the show already has one sponsor–Carolla has started doing a “live read” for Adam & Eve Stores, the “the nation’s number one source for all things erotic.”

Here’s an interview I conducted with Carolla in March, where he explains his not-entirely voluntary move to the Web and his attempts to turn it into a money-making venture.

And here’s the release:

CBS RADIO FORGES ONLINE PARTNERSHIP WITH ADAM CAROLLA

Popular Entertainer’s Podcast To Be Featured Across CBS RADIO Properties;
Carolla To Also Program His Own Streaming Radio Station, K-ACE

CBS RADIO today announced it has partnered with Adam Carolla, comedian, TV star, radio host, actor and entertainer to present his successful podcast to legions of listeners and fans nationwide.  “THE ADAM CAROLLA PODCAST” can be heard for free on-demand at www.adamcarolla.com and is additionally available for download on iTunes.

Promotion for Adam Carolla will appear across CBS RADIO’s portfolio of station properties with direct links to the entertainer’s dedicated website.  Once there, fans can listen to the latest audio rant from Adam, as well as sample archived podcasts.  Ad sales for the podcast will be handled by CBS RADIO.  Pre-roll, in-stream audio and live reads are available for local and national clients looking to reach Adam’s target audience of Men 18-49, among others.

In addition, an Adam Carolla focused radio station, called K-ACE, debuts on Monday, September 28, and will offer fans segments from Carolla’s popular podcasts interspersed with rock music and programming selected by Carolla, “The Aceman,” himself.  K-ACE can be heard via CBS RADIO’s streaming platform, Yahoo! Music Radio, AOL Radio, and on select mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPod Touch and the Blackberry.

“THE ADAM CAROLLA PODCAST” began in February 2009 and currently reaches over 130,000 listeners per show.  The podcast remains a constant in the Top 10 of iTunes’ Top Podcasts chart.  Carolla, famous for his rants on various outrageous topics, uses his podcast to broadcast his opinions, while hosting an assortment of influential and popular celebrities and friends, as he charms guests and listeners alike with his witty sense of humor and biting sarcasm.

“I’m thrilled to be back in business with my friends at CBS RADIO and feel like I’m at the vanguard of an exciting new technology,” says Carolla.  ”Now, if somebody could just tell me what the hell a POD is!”

“We are excited to once again be working with Adam Carolla providing our listeners with the same Adam that so many fans have come to know and love over the years,” says Chris Oliviero, Vice President of Programming, CBS RADIO.  “Adam has an uncanny ability to relate to everyday people in a funny and engaging manner, and the popularity of his podcast is a testament to that.

“This distinctive partnership showcases CBS RADIO’s commitment to growth in the digital space and highlights the accessibility, portability and cutting edge programming available on radio.”

Adam Carolla, who is best known for his work in television and radio, has previously hosted CBS RADIO’s “The Adam Carolla Show,” was co-host of the nationally syndicated radio call-in show “Loveline,” co-created, and executive produced and co-hosted Comedy Central’s ”The Man Show,” co-created, executive produced and was a character on “Crank Yankers,” as well as was a contestant on ABC’s popular series “Dancing With The Stars.” Carolla also starred, wrote and produced the award-winning indie film “The Hammer.”  He is currently writing his first book to be published by Crown in Fall 2010.  In addition to “THE ADAM CAROLLA PODCAST,” Carolla is host of “Carcast,” a podcast devoted to those who share Carolla’s passion and pastime of all things automobiles.

Viacom and Google Fight in Court, but Work Together to Keep Kanye West Off of YouTube

video music award taylor swiftYes, Viacom is still suing Google for  a billion dollars, because it says too many of its videos showed up on YouTube. But that doesn’t mean Viacom and Google (GOOG) can’t work together to prevent the cable giant’s videos from showing up on YouTube.

Want to see this in action? Go to YouTube and try to find a clip of the Kanye West/Taylor Swift/Beyoncé incident from Sunday night’s Video Music Awards. Everyone’s still talking about it (I don’t know why, really, but I guess I’m out of the demo), but if you want to watch it on YouTube, you’re stuck watching shaky, grainy footage created when people film their TV sets with a camcorder.

That’s the result of Viacom (VIA) and YouTube using the site’s Content ID system–which YouTube installed after Viacom filed suit more than two years ago. Content ID allows YouTube to track copyrighted material on the site as long as the copyright owner tells it what to look for.

It’s not a plug-and-play solution: On Sunday, Viacom had to have staff work through the night to provide YouTube with “reference files” from the live show so that the Google’s video service could find the offending clips and take them down.

But it worked pretty well. Decent-quality clips of the Kanye incident were taken down fairly quickly, and the grainy shots had only generated some 700,000 views by Monday afternoon, according to video-tracker TubeMogul. Meanwhile, MTV’s official version was approaching two million views (it’s now above three million).

You could argue that both Google and MTV would be better served if the official clip was on YouTube. And one day, that might happen. But first, they have to settle their court case.

That looks less likely today than it did a week ago, by the way, because of the recent ruling in the Universal Music/Veoh case. Team Viacom says the case, which appears to be quite similar to its own, won’t have any bearing on the how the company proceeds, while the YouTube guys see it as an affirmation of their position. Translation: More legal back and forth and fewer Viacom clips on the world’s biggest video site.

Here’s one of the low-fi versions, by the way. Not recommended if you’re prone to motion sickness: