Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman said the company's decision to pull more than 100,000 video clips from viral-video site YouTube has been a win/win situation for the media giant.
Dauman said that not only has last month's removal of the clips brought more traffic to Viacom's own network of Web sites, but, more importantly, it has enabled the company to make more money on that content. Viacom ordered YouTube to take down more than 100,000 clips of its content in February.
Dauman, during a presentation at the Bear Stearns Media Conference in Palm Beach, Fla. last Tuesday, said that while YouTube honored that request for the most part, it was a move to protect its brand and its advertisers.
“We found that when we sent out the take-down notice to YouTube … we found traffic increasing back to our own sites. We are able to monetize that increased traffic; this is high-value traffic,” he added. “The premium-branded advertisers aren't, in my opinion, going to spend a lot of money for the YouTube viewers who are looking at the user-generated content of a cat going to the bathroom.”
Dauman said Viacom's recent deal with Joost shows that the media company is not averse to its content appearing on other sites, as long as it is adequately compensated. He added that Viacom is open to establishing a relationship with YouTube in the future, but that isn't critical to Viacom's business.
He said that while online is on the climb, it's not the only growing part of Viacom's business.
“People consume entertainment in many different ways and many different formats,” Dauman said, such as TV, Internet and mobile devices. “I think you have to have the flexibility to serve customers where they are.”
Although a recent Viacom restructuring has claimed hundreds of domestic and international jobs, Dauman said substantial opportunities remain for bolstering existing networks in the U.S. and augmenting its presence abroad. To that end, Dauman, shortly after becoming CEO last year, authorized a three-year plan to develop more original programming at BET.
Dauman also restructured affiliates sales at Viacom's flagship MTV Networks and tied executive pay to meeting business-performance targets.
“Candidly, there were people in some parts of our company who had gotten way overpaid for what they were doing in a really changed world,” he said. “Affiliate sales is one good example. We restructured it, we're going to save a lot of money we can put into programming and, guess what, we're going to do a much better job for our affiliates. Because we have restructured the organization to meet today's needs, not yesterday's needs.”