Viacom's Web-savvy, stock price trail CBS
So Viacom, parent of Comedy Central and MTV, wants Google's YouTube to remove all Viacom clips from the interactive Web portal. Apparently the companies failed to reach an agreement to make Viacom (VIA) content available on the Web.
Former Browser Owen Thomas notes in his blog that these guys already had a deal with Google (GOOG) to test online video distribution. But that deal was announced back in August 2006 - when Tom Freston was still running Viacom, and when Google wasn't the owner of YouTube.
Much has been made of the different directions (subscription required) taken by Viacom and its former sibling CBS. (The two split about a year ago.) Most notable is the stock performance of the two companies: CBS is up, and Viacom is, well, down.
Now another big difference is emerging: CBS is a prominent YouTube partner (I'm old and go to sleep early, so if not for YouTube I'd never see any Letterman). Moreover, under Les Moonves, the company is showing a real willingness to experiment with other interactive and digital initiatives, including a trial of a new clipping service from Sling Media, makers of the Slingbox.
Meanwhile, Viacom is apparently choosing to put its content on its own site, much like Disney's (DIS) ABC unit. To be sure, Viacom has plenty of good stuff people will seek out - music videos, comedy shorts, etc - but to opt out of the one place everyone goes for clips seems shortsighted. And while viacom.com - or wherever they chose to place the content - isn't exactly a walled garden, that approach seems very old-fashioned, at least by Web standards.
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