It's the place you go for Family Guy clips and last night's Jon Stewart interview. For now, media companies keep their hands off YouTube and cut deals with the site instead. But some day, if it doesn't die first, YouTube will have to sell out, and the buyer will become a juicy legal target for every other media company whose stuff is pirated on the popular video site. What clips are in danger if one of these top potential buyers bites?
Pretty much everything is in trouble. Thankfully, Yahoo just bought a different online video startup, and they have their own video enterprise as well, so a YouTube buy isn't likely.
Anybody but Viacom
- The Daily Show. Viacom's Comedy Central hasn't sued YouTube for now, but if someone like News Corp. bought it, they'd feel a lot more litigious off a direct competitor cashing in on their work.
- South Park
- Clips from movies by Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks
- Anything from MTV, Nickelodeon, Spike TV, and VH1
Anybody but News Corp
- Everything from Fox, including The Simpsons and Family Guy.
- Movies by 20th Century Fox
- Fox News, but they just started suing anyway
Anybody but Disney
- ABC shows including Lost, The Nine, Grey's Anatomy, America's Funnies Home Videos, Extreme Makeover, Jimmy Kimmel, NBA games, college football, and dozens of old sitcoms
- Movies from Disney, Touchstone, Hollywood Studios, and Miramax
- Music from Buena Vista, Disney Records, Mammoth Records, and Hollywood Records
- Pixar movies
- The Muppets
Anybody but CBS
- Shows on the new CW TV Network
- 60 Minutes, the CBS Evening News, and the CBS Morning News
- Four soap operas
- The Amazing Race, Big Brother, and Survivor
- CSI: Whatever
- Other shows like Numb3rs, Without a Trace, The King of Queens, Letterman, and The Price is Right
- NCAA, NFL, and PGA games
- Old shows including MASH, The Twilight Zone, and Everybody Loves Raymond
Anybody but Playboy
Actually, YouTube's pretty covered there. It's damn hard to find porn on that site, as you already know.
Anybody but Sony
Oh geez, just too much to count. Sony owns half of BMG, which cuts out a huge chunk of music used to soundtrack videos. YouTube's deal with Warner Music means Sony will demand the same treatment. Hell, it could do that soon anyway. And don't forget movies by Sony Pictures.
Anybody but Time Warner
Sure, there's HBO, Cartoon Network, CNN, Warner Brothers, and New Line Cinema. But forget that, what about Road Runner? Remember how ISPs won the Net Neutrality debate? Yeah, videos from YouTube might come a little slower until its new owner pays for an upgrade.
But hey, I'm sure YouTube will do just fine and go public on its own.