The amount of videos viewed online rose 66 percent in the US in February, compared to the same period last year. The huge goose in traffic is interesting, but what might be even more interesting is how little of that traffic is enjoyed by sites run by television networks. From the figures, the only way networks can get anybody to look at what they're offering online is to get it pirated and uploaded to YouTube.
Some networks said they are stymied by instant piracy in which uploads of their content make it to other Web sites just minutes after broadcast.
The culprits often post the footage on Google Inc.'s YouTube.com, the dominant video service in the new survey.
YouTube racked up one-third of the estimated 10 billion views of online video in February, up from 15 percent last year, according to comScore.
"We still see our content pop up on YouTube," Sandy Malcolm, executive producer of CNN.com, a unit of Time Warner Inc., said during the broadcasters meeting.
"You deal with it," she said. "You try to work with them on rights and things, but I don't think you can completely stop it. You just try to beat the tide and try to get your content out as fast as you can."
The business model of the Internet is entirely at odds with the entertainment industry: The Internet gives away the content and charges only for premium services or associated products. Something's going to have to give. I doubt it's the Internet.