Om Malik takes a look at NBC’s decision to move from YouTube to their own distribution network co-owned with News Corp called Hulu. He suggests that this is a bad move since it fragments the video distribution market:
It is my belief that these companies are in the business of content, not distribution. Offering their content on their own properties may give them a lift in terms of page views, but at the same time they also run the risk of losing the audience that simply seeks out such content on sites such as YouTube.
He makes a good point, but I think the point he’s making will become less and less relevant over time. It’s certainly relevant today, but as more and more viewers choose to aggregate content that interests them using either client software like iTunes or Miro, or web based options like Google Reader or yet to be invented video aggregation services, it won’t really matter where the content is hosted.
Reading blogs is a perfect example of how video distribution is going to evolve. I read Om Malik’s blog using Google Reader. His writing could just as easily be in an online tech magazine, group blog, or online newspaper. It doesn’t matter. I read his stuff even though he’s not on the YouTube of online video. In fact, there is no YouTube of written content and there doesn’t need to be one.
In the long run, it’s not going to matter where the content is hosted since viewers will end up watching it wherever they choose.
If it’s not easy for views to watch content where they choose, they’ll just steal it rather than being forced to bounce around the web seeking out their favorite shows.