Major Labels Try To Get Back Into The Video-Distribution Game

noah | March 5, 2009 1:00 am

It’s probably no coincidence that the announcement that the major labels’ attempt to create a Hulu-like destination site, PluggedIn, was shutting down came the same day that news got out about Universal Music Group’s attempts to make nice with YouTube. Music videos clog the “most viewed” charts on the streaming-video site, but they’ve proven tough to monetize, as evidenced by Universal not allowing third parties to embed clips so interested viewers are forced to visit ad-laden, cash-generating pages on YouTube itself. (Although if you go to YouTube to torture yourself with a clip from the new Chris Cornell album, you’re greeted by a bunch of ads for… Chris Cornell’s Scream.)

The idea would be that this “premium” site—code named, according to the Wall Street Journal, “Vevo”—would be able to charge higher ad rates than just plain old YouTube (except in the case of “house” ads like the Cornell-promoting-Cornell banners, of course). Which seems like somewhat curious timing given the state of the market for Web ads, although the logic there may be that anything seems like more of a sure bet, revenue-generation wise, than relying on sales of actual music these days. I just hope that premium isn’t code word for “a three and a half minute clip being introduced by 30 seconds of pre-roll advertising”; this is a business model that I’ve actually seen in action in the past, and let me tell you, it’s even more intolerable than the clip linked above, because at least one has the option of pressing “stop” in that case.

YouTube and Universal Discuss Music Video Deal [NYT]PluggedIn’s “Hulu For Music Videos” Heads To The Deadpool [TechCrunch via New Music Tipsheet] Earlier: Major Labels Launch Yet Another Anti-YouTube Offensive