Nothing brings into sharp relief the radical change sweeping through the video-based media industry (TV, movies, etc.) like hard data:

Downloads of Walt Disney films on the iTunes platform have risen sharply to more than 1.3m after only three months on sale, putting pressure on other Hollywood studios to join Apple’s digital service. (Via FT)

And there’s this:

Exasperated by the failure to reach an agreement with Google and YouTube after months of negotiations, Viacom sent Google a letter today demanding that all Viacom material on YouTube—100,000 plus clips representing 1.2 billion streams, according to Viacom—be removed immediately. (Via PaidContent)

1.3 million movies. 100,000 video clips. 1.2 billion video streams. Those are real, market-sized numbers. This is isn’t just the tip of the iceberg — this is tearing into the hull of the video industry’s ship.

As striking as the numbers are, the spin is even better:

Target has expressed concerns about the effect of downloading on DVD sales and pricing. But in an exclusive video interview on, Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive, said digital distribution was “creating more consumption of media”. He added: “The message that we deliver to our traditional [retail] partners is that the pie is getting bigger.”


In a statement, Viacom also cites the lack of filtering software long-promised by YouTube:
“Filtering tools promised repeatedly by YouTube and Google have not been put in place, and they continue to host and stream vast amounts of unauthorized video. YouTube and Google retain all of the revenue generated from this practice, without extending fair compensation to the people who have expended all of the effort and cost to create it.

The “pie is getting bigger”? Yeah, maybe after they add that 25th hour to the day. And how about YouTube continuing to “host and stream vast amounts of *unauthorized *video”? Wait, I thought it was all “user generated content.”

Pass the popcorn — for media industry geeks, this drama gets better every episode.