Wednesday, February 02, 2005

UNIVERSAL SEEK TO BE PAID FOR ITS ADVERTISING: Suppose your product relied on getting its commercials out to the largest number of people possible. Then, suppose that someone came up to you and said "rather than charge you to show your ads, we'll show 'em to an audience for nothing?" What would you say? "Yes, please", we'd imagine. Not if you're Universal - they're trying to makecable and broadband video services pay them for the honour of promoting their artists. More ominously, they're putting financial pressure on TV and web companies to agree to this 'offer' by threatening to withdraw paid-for advertising from networks that don't pay up. (We believe those in the trade call this "an offer you can't refuse"; ethically, it's not very far from turning up at a business and muttering "it would be a shame if something were to... happen).

Not that Universal - co-owners of Murder Inc, a label being investigated for money laundering - are unreasonable men:

...for example, it would allow music retail Web sites to carry 30 seconds of a video free if they also included a "buy" button that consumers could use to purchase music.

Is it just us, or is that saying "if you like, you can carry our advertising for free"?