Listen to (and share) episode 34 of our audio podcast Deadline Big Media With David Lieberman as Deadline’s Executive Editor David Lieberman and host David Bloom look at out-of-whack CEO pay; a Washington threat to the Pay TV oligopoly; YouTube goes subscription with 30 new channels; and why Time-Warner’s Jeff Bewkes thinks blockbusters make sense financially.
Among the more interesting new paid YouTube channels of the 30 unveiled today are the ones belonging to indie film distributors leading the charge into untested digital and outside-the-box models. Cinedigm relaunched their Docurama brand in April with a library of 1,250 documentary features, also plotting a streaming app for launch this spring which would make more than 150 Docurama titles available for free on multiple devices. Their new curated Docurama YouTube channel could similarly boost digital niche moviewatching and carve a path for other distributors and filmmakers exploring alternative distribution online. For $2.99 a month, users will get access to Docurama’s playlist of docu features and bonus materials refreshed each week, with 25% of those feature offerings being new or recent releases. (All of YouTube’s new premium channels will first launch with a 14-day free trial.) The ambitious growth plan set in motion last year under Cinedigm CEO Chris McGurk so far has also included a plan to help outfit drive-in theaters with digital projectors and last month’s Arthur Newman BitTorrent experiment.
UPDATE: After besting Viacom for the second time in three years in the multi-million copyright infringement suit the media giant brought against them, Google released this statement today:
The court correctly rejected Viacom’s lawsuit against YouTube, reaffirming that Congress got it right when it comes to copyright on the Internet. This is a win not just for YouTube, but for people everywhere who depend on the Internet to exchange ideas and information. – Kent Walker, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, Google
PREVIOUSLY, 2:53 PM: Even though it suffered the second loss in three years on the same multimillion-dollar copyright suit against YouTube, Viacom today said it plans to appeal the latest ruling against it. “This ruling ignores the opinions of the higher courts and completely disregards the rights of creative artists. We continue to believe that a jury should weigh the facts of this case and the overwhelming evidence that YouTube willfully infringed on our rights, and we intend to appeal the decision,” said the company in a statement after a U.S. District court judge in New York granted YouTube yet another favorable summary judgment today. “The Clerk shall enter judgment that defendants are protected by the safe-harbor provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act from all of plaintiffs’ copyright infringement claims and accordingly dismissing the complaint, the costs and disbursements to defendants according to law,” Judge Louise Stanton wrote Thursday (read it here).
Even with plans to appeal, this second verse sounds a lot like the first. Viacom lost a previous summary judgment in the case back in July 2010 on the suit, which it instigated in 2007. Among its many provisions, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act offers legal protection from liability to an unwitting website from infringement that its users may perform. Almost two years later, the plaintiffs then got a second swing at the video-sharing website thanks to the Appeals Court in April of last year ruling that YouTube hadn’t adequately proven it was actually entitled to the protection of the DMCA. The Appeals Court also noted it believed that in fact YouTube did know its users were putting up Viacom-owned material on the site. Unfortunately for Viacom, the judge, who delivered a similar ruling back in 2010, thought the system worked just fine and that YouTube had done all it needs to do in this case.
Along with an emphasis on cross-border series, among the takeaways from this week’s Mip-TV market was the increased merging of technology and content. Of the 4,000 acquisition execs in town, 800 were VOD and digital buyers – a 30% jump on last year. Cinedigm did a digital/VOD deal for more than 1,000 episodes of TV shows from Australia’s ABC which CEO Chris McGurk said reflected the “ever-growing importance of efficient, cost-effective delivery of digital content worldwide.”
YouTube was part of the discussion. Tim Hincks, president of Dutch giant Endemol, which has over 100 YouTube channels, said the company will soon launch a new Fear Factor channel, effectively reviving the brand in the U.S. But he stressed that “It’s not how much you’ve got, it’s what you do with them. It’s tying them together and marketing to the consumers and YouTubers on the different channels.”
But BSkyB managing director of content, Sophie Turner Lang, urged attendees to “Talk about the shows, not the pipes.” It’s storytelling that engages audiences, she said, noting that creative meetings have reversed from mostly being about story and talent to being about “protection and digital delivery.”
The video-sharing website announced the milestone today, eight years after YouTube was founded as a tech startup. By 2006 YouTube was notching 100 million video views per day. Google bought it for …
EXCLUSIVE: Ricky Gervais, scourge of the Golden Globes and creator of The Office, Extras and most recently Derek, has made a deal through Derek Productions to provide exclusive original content to the Ricky Gervais YouTube channel. That channel is part of the web hub’s original channels initiative in the UK.
Said Gervais: “Any artist will tell you that they want as many people to see their work with as little interference to that work as possible. To create, get final edit, and be the broadcaster is the ultimate artistic experience. This is why I have partnered with YouTube for original programming. And because of all that money they gave me too, obviously.”
Gervais’s first contribution will be to bring back David Brent. That character had a cameo appearance in an episode of The Office: An American Workplace in 2011, and this will be the first fully authored performance of Brent since 2003. The channel will air all new original content from Gervais, including sketches, filmed podcasts & behind the scenes antics and interviews from the forthcoming The Muppets… Again. The web channel is accessible on youtube.com/rickygervais.
Simon Cowell is adding another stream to his talent scouting business. Cowell and Sony Music Entertainment’s joint venture, Syco, is hooking up with YouTube to launch global online talent contest, The You Generation. The contest opens to the public March 20 and will run for one year in an experiment aimed at discovering new talent. Entries are solicited from people with “unconventional and original talents” including musicians, photographers, makeup artists, magicians and chefs, Syco said. Wannabes will upload their videos to the You Generation YouTube channel in a different category every two weeks. They’ll then be judged by “professionals associated with Syco.” Prizes will be awarded every two weeks – though it’s not clear yet what the prizes will be – and there will be a grand prize at the end. The contest is available in 15 languages and 26 countries. Cowell’s already juggling the X Factor and Got Talent shows in the U.S. and the UK where he’s returning to judge Britain’s Got Talent‘s seventh season that kicks off in the spring. Click over for The You Generation promo in which Cowell freaks the hell out of some early contestants:
Fox is restructuring its current department to include event series and digital programming. Part of that digital programming will be projects introduced under a multi-year pact Fox has signed with YouTube original drama channel WIGS. Fox’s VP Current Programming James Oh has been upped to SVP and will oversee all of Fox’s existing scripted series and manage Fox’s current programming team. He succeeds in the role of Fox’s head of current Marcy Ross who is departing the network. SVP Current Programming Shana C. Waterman will assume the title of SVP, Event Series & Multi-Platform Programming, a newly-created department set out to manage the network’s limited-run and digital programming initiatives. She will commission and develop long-form event series for Fox under the network’s joint initiative with FX, will oversee the network’s multi-platform programming, including Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD), The Short-Com Comedy Hour (working title), WIGS and other digital-to-broadcast efforts. Oh reports to Fox COO Joe Earley, Waterman to chairman Kevin Reilly. In addition, Fox has hired Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, previously SVP, Digital Media at News Corp, as SVP, Multi-Platform Programming. He will serve as the senior operational executive for Fox’s multi-platform programming.
Pirated movies have made a comeback to YouTube over the past year, the Wall Street Journal reports. Hundreds of copies of movies from Disney, Sony, MGM and Warner Bros have been uploaded illegally to YouTube, but studios didn’t initially take …
(New York, NY) January 14, 2013 — Alloy Digital, a leading next generation media company for the 12-34 demographic and a top-10 video network, today announced teen- and young adult-focused SMOSH has become the #1 ranked YouTube channel by subscribers, according to YouTube subscriber analytics, VidStatsX. The pioneering channel starring comedic duo Anthony Padilla and Ian Hecox has hit in excess of 6.8 million subscribers and amassed 2 billion lifetime views.
Fuse was lit with a collection of interviews and performances from the 12-12-12 concert to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. Madison Square Garden’s channel gained 2.9M views for a total of 5.2M, and jumped seven spots to No. 4 in our tally of Google-funded YouTube services for the week that ended December 19. The big mover on the rank chart was Hungry, whose holiday recipe videos enabled it to jump 33 spots to No. 57, even though it only gained 197,775 views for a total of 257,385. The channels on our list saw a 4.1% increase in views over the previous week, with the top 10 accounting for 51.8% of the total. Making room for Fuse in the top 10, Jay Z’s Life and Times dropped seven spots to No. 15.