Viacom’s Vendetta Against Google
Does Viacom have a grudge against Google? That’s the topic I explore in my latest article for Business Week. Here’s an extract…
The media giant is forging partnerships with everyone but Google, a snub that could eventually take a toll on the search titan
What exactly did Google do to create such a fervent enemy-combatant in the media company Viacom? Ever since we learned of the collapse of discussions over carrying Viacom cable content on YouTube, Viacom has been on an apparent crusade to bring Google to its knees.
After months of negotiations to give Google’s YouTube permission to display video programming from Viacom’s Comedy Central, MTV, VH1, and Nickelodeon cable channels, the deal collapsed in February. Viacom executives claimed “it has become clear that YouTube is unwilling to come to a fair market agreement.” Following that statement, Viacom quickly inked a deal with Joost, effectively handing the up-and-coming rival video service hundreds of hours of licensed programming that Google (GOOG) had coveted for YouTube (see BusinessWeek.com, 2/21/07, “Viacom Juices Joost”).
Since then, Viacom (VIA) has slapped YouTube with a $1 billion lawsuit claiming the video-sharing site had “built a lucrative business out of exploiting the devotion of fans to others’ creative works in order to enrich itself and its corporate parent Google.” In addition, Viacom announced a partnership to bring its video programming to mobile handsets, via Sprint Nextel (S) and on Apr. 10 announced a multiyear search-engine-advertising deal with Google’s archrival, Yahoo! (YHOO) (see BusinessWeek.com, 4/11/07, “Viacom Spurns Google for Yahoo”).