YouTube Frenemy

A “frenemy” is like brunch, breakfast and lunch combined.  It’s sort of friend but sort of foe at the same time.  The term was apparently coined by the newspaper industry to describe the affect of Google on print news.  Google archives newspapers creating a tremendous resource and Google soaked up advertisements newspapers traditionally depend on.  Give with one hand and take with the other – “frenemy.”

YouTube is owned by Google and reportedly wants to be friends with local television news operations.  The unbelievably wide reaching video sharing site has channels and shows.  YouTube also has lots of friends among major American networks – NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and  the news service – Associated Press

Some local stations have channels on YouTube to share videos.  So is YouTube enemy with introduction of the News Near You feature to push content based on the requesting machine’s geographical location?  It appears to gather branded videos from participating local stations and contributors.

In new media where viewers count in thousands and hundreds there is little to monetize for most stations used to viewers numbers in hundreds of thousands and millions.  YouTube, itself, returns such numbers for it’s site.  Google and YouTube can sell advertising on par with any major market US television station.

Google executives understand emphatically, based on their appeal to local television stations, the Web is worldwide but people – users are local and relate to what’s near them.  The value has increased as digital content providers comprehend what local television stations have always known.

Why would a medium join with one that sucked blood out of another and lets them post videos to YouTube?  The answer is in the term “frenemy.”   If local stations mind their business like no one else is supposed to YouTube will be mostly friend.  Misuse of social media such as YouTube might harm local news.

Next week Broadcast Newsroom Computing has some fun considering the business perils and rewards of social media like YouTube.

James Rowe

Rowe and Company, LLC


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