Out of Control or Just catching up?

On hearing the news that MTV are handing over control to viewers Ben McConnell remarked that – Control is really out of control.

“MTV says it will create thousands of new niche-oriented sites based on its programming and invite viewers to participate with shows and remix their content. Control is really out of control now”…..and later agreed this is a positive move

“This is exactly how big media companies should fight the third-party sites; not with lawyers but with vast amounts of free content, tools to play with that content and vast new forms of particpation. To out-do YouTube, big media should be encouraging joint ownership of content.”

I’d say that it’s about time. If the original yoof tv channel can’t work it out now it never will. According to a Pew Survey of Generation Next is made up of 18-25 year-olds (born between 1981 and 1988). Just 2 of the summary findings

  • They use technology and the internet to connect with people in new and distinctive ways. Text messaging, instant messaging and email keep them in constant contact with friends. About half say they sent or received a text message over the phone in the past day, approximately double the proportion of those ages 26-40.
  • They are the “Look at Me” generation. Social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace and MyYearbook allow individuals to post a personal profile complete with photos and descriptions of interests and hobbies. A majority of Gen Nexters have used one of these social networking sites, and more than four-in-ten have created a personal profile.
  • You can’t expect a generation that has replaced TV with broadband mashups to be satisfied with their current websites. And it’s not exactly rocket science to work out why myspace and youtube have been successful. 

    It is not just younger people who like to slice and dice their media content. Engagement media has wide appeal – welcome to the web 2.0 world.

    Back in February the Viacom Chairman was asked if they got Web 2.0?  in an interview. This was the viewpoint then.

    “THR: Let’s talk about new media. There are some that say Viacom has missed the boat when it comes to the Web 2.0 revolution.
    Redstone: Wait a minute, wait a minute. We don’t miss boats. Other people miss boats, and they may have missed the Viacom boat. The fact of the matter is, without copyright protection, there is no entertainment business. And so we instructed YouTube to remove 100,000 pieces of video from their site. Why? Because they were using it without paying for it. I don’t believe in that. If you want to use us, pay us. Or make a deal with us that is commensurate with the value of our product. We are the only totally content company, and our content has taken years and years to develop, with a lot of hard work. People who want to use it are going to pay us, or good-bye.”

    In the news today there is a $1b lawsuit against Google based around the YouTube experience. This will certainly get people’s attention and ultimately it is another version of follow the money. MTV and Viacom are content owners and quite rightly want to leverage that value as directly as they can. Allowing some form of Web 2.0 engagement on their own sites , in a facilitated manner would seem a way to do that.

    The impact on revenues won’t have escaped their attention – and sure enough at the end of the official story there is a note on how MTV owner (Viacom)  is expecting to double their digital business revenue this coming year.