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Letting Videos Free, MRM vs. DRM

The big issue confronting Media companies isn’t really letting their videos show up all over the Net, it’s how do they make money when they’re showing up all over the Net. I met with Doug Knopper from FreeWheel, a new startup that’s aimed at helping companies deal with just that question. It’s working with CBS and Warner, so far.

Essentially, FreeWheel has a system that tags videos as they’re distributed to video services such as YouTube, Veoh and Joost. It provides a consolidated view of where the videos are showing, tallies up ad revenues and figures out who gets what split, whether the content company or the video services. It also lets content companies manage the different intricacies of their ad deals with advertisers and with the distribution partners. For instance, if a company has a deal to show Coke commercials, not Pepsi ones when it comes to a certain show, it will make sure that only Coke commercials will run.

What FreeWheel talks about this is the importance of MRM, or monetization rights management. If you can manage that, then you don’t need DRM. The idea is that if people can find the content they want when they want it, they won’t want to steal it.

CNET has a good story on them, concluding

that an executive from CBS says that plenty of FreeWheel’s competitors offer some of what the company provides but not all. Another media-company executive who has seen FreeWheel says the company has the right pedigree and understands what media companies need.

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