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YouTube’s TV relationships going south fast

WSJ breaks the news that NBC’s general counsel demanded that YouTube remove the company’s copyrighted content last week, and CBS’ talks to expand its relationship with the video site have “unraveled.” This after Viacom yanked its content a couple weeks ago after a long negotiation that boiled down to hard cash (Google reportedly offered $500 million but Viacom wanted more) and promised “fingerprinting” technology that YouTube has yet to deliver. The tide is turning, at least for now. Reads the WSJ story, “Although the current strife might eventually prove to be no more than hard-nosed negotiating, Google’s attempt to cut deals with media companies seems to be turning into a long slog.” Lots of good information in this story, including the tidbit that Google CEO Eric Schmidt was planning to take the stage with CBS chief Les Moonves at CES to announce a multiyear deal, but Moonves balked and Schmidt canceled his trip. “I’m not in a great hurry,” says Schmidt on teaming up with TV. “It’s more important to get it right.” So the obvious question, will the networks ultimately partner with YouTube? Does YouTube need them to succeed? (WSJ sub. req.)

Adds WizKid in comments below: “Networks are in for a rude awakening if they think we’ll choose to watch commercial-riddled programming over commercial-free third parties, pirate or not.”

Adds discreet_chaos in comments: “We all may sit around and protest that the networks are trying to protect their copyrights, but other than LonelyGirl and a couple of others, how many people are watching the stuff that’s not ganked from cable?”

Adds Joe in comments: “Most of YouTube’s traffic comes from the long tail of clips that aren’t in the ‘most viewed’ list. So without the tv clips, YouTube would still have a large and likely growing audience.”

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