CNet has this story about big network’s(NBC, FOX, CBS) alternative to YouTube, interesting and probably makes sense (a la Oribitz by big airlines?) . But there are so many hurdles mainly from within.
The talks deal with complicated matters for the networks–how to put programming on the Internet without cannibalizing TV efforts; how to do that quickly enough to prevent YouTube from profiting; and how to avoid ceding control or branding to partners.
If networks are just worried about YouTube’s profit, then they dont have any moral high ground in this. Instead, if their focus is how they can protect their content without alienating the vast majority of users who are already used to free video, then it makes sense.
Looks like ABC is not participating in this effort. So, there seems less and less chance that this would succeed.
Finally, it boils down to technology choices they make decides whether such an offering will succeed, it cannot be just another you tube like offering, that allows users to upload their copy of the programs. At the same time, it cannot be a one sided game where in network executives decide what and how much of the programs to be available online.
They need community involvement, where by users like you and me decide what our friends should watch from a particular episode/newscast. E.g: Just the Headlines section in JayLeno show. Or a small bit of news where they talk about a company that I work for etc. Of course, networks should and can make money form all these things, they are not Google, but nevertheless, they have done this free distribution supported by ad business model for so many years, it would be shame if they can’t do the same on web. BTW, dont force ads just before every video is played out (like Y! news videos does now), instead be smart, identify the user and push him advertisements on screen or in the interval of say 10 minutes. Let it be short and effective, rather than TV like ads.
May be, better option is to just collect some money from Google and indemnify all the losses from copyright violations of YouTube users.