Acquisition reinforces growing importance of corporate video

Google's (not totally) surprising acquisition of YouTube has produced a number of memes.

Google's (not totally) surprising acquisition of YouTube has produced a number of memes.

Will Google be sued out of business? Ah, no. Businesses only really sue their partners if they have the upper hand. Today, it's Google's world, and we're just living in it. Will it create copyright restrictions? Likely. Will that cause users to flee en masse? Some will leave, but content producers and Google/YouTube will also likely work out a way to enable users to view content free, somehow.

However, being as I'm not writing for Law Review or Billboard, let's get to the salient matter not covered anywhere else. This partnership affirms what you as PR counsel, if you're wise, have been telling your bosses: It's time to think about corporate video.

Google doesn't get into the business of just creating fun stuff for children and stoners. Or, rather, it doesn't get into the business of doing that unless there is money involved. Google is like the ice cream man.

From the Office of National Drug Control Policy to politicians, established organizations have realized the power of creating online video and hosting it elsewhere, off the main site. Sadly, corporations today are doing far too little in the way of b-to-b, and even b-to-c, video. With all manners of stakeholders carrying video iPods, PSPs, and other portable video players, it's foolish not to find ways to bring video content about your company to them.

As NextFifteen Communications CEO Tim Dyson, speaking specifically about blogs, said in our recent Corporate Survey (PRWeek, October 9), "The notion of every company having a blog is a good one if you assume that every corporation wants to communicate."

If you're working at a company that doesn't want to communicate - and you're in communications - run away... now. So any company worth its silicon chips that wants to communicate should consider doing so in video form. Well, companies already like video, but only that which is on that antiquated box in the living room. How much effort was exerted to get on Squawk Box? And you don't even get to frame the argument.

Why not spend the same amount of man hours it takes to pitch the media to create a dozen 30-minute spots for YouTube? If you're not Microsoft, which can get MTV to cede its airwaves for free Xbox 360 product promotion (I mean, a "feature report"), but you make video games, why not make your own channel online? If your CEO is not Mark Cuban, but he or she has things to say about issues affecting business - say, DRM and YouTube.com - get your CEO, and put some interviews on there. Resist the urge to grill him or her on just how fantastic your firm's wares are. You were likely a journalist once; throw that executive some tough questions. But not that tough. Uh, you might want to erase that segment.

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