Google CEO: Media divided over online video

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NEW YORK-- Google Inc. Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said the Internet giant continues to pursue deals that will let it show copyrighted videos on YouTube, but suggested old and new media remain far apart in how they view the emerging business of online video.

Speaking at an investor conference hosted by Bear Stearns on Tuesday morning, Schmidt said there is a "genuine disagreement" between the camps. Traditional media argue their content has a certain intrinsic value, while Google says "prove it," he said. "That's often a difficult conversation."

"Ultimately, product value is determined if people view it," Schmidt argued. "They vote with their clicks, they vote with where they go."

Asked by a member of the audience whether Google is "arrogant," as charged by some in traditional media, Schmidt said, "I'm sure we're arrogant."

But he chalked up those complaints to a negotiating tactic and groused that one of the ways traditional media negotiate "is it's leaked, and you're sued to death." Expressing dismay, Schmidt said, "It's not normal in the technology industry, I can assure you."

Google's YouTube has inked a few content deals, most recently with Britain's British Broadcasting Corp. But despite the video-sharing site's growing popularity, it has struggled to forge such agreements with large media companies, many of whom have alleged copyright infringement.

Viacom Inc. recently ordered YouTube to remove more than 100,000 clips from its site, alleging they infringed copyright. According to press reports, NBC has also written to Google, demanding unauthorized material be kept off the YouTube site.

Schmidt said media companies, frustrated about the fact that consumers continue to illegally copy and post their content on the Internet, should shift their thinking.

"The better opportunity for you is to think of this person as a potential monetizable target," he said, as "a fan."

Through a combination of ad types, including targeted, pre-roll and post-roll ads, the industry can build a business that's bigger than the media businesses we know today, Schmidt said. Google sees its role as a provider of the tools, video quality and distribution network needed to realize that opportunity.

Google is based in Mountain View, Calif.



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