The Viacom-YouTube lawsuit and the general migration of content to the Web elicited varied opinions from a heavy-hitting group of media execs gathered in L.A. this week. “It’s about getting paid. That’s really the issue for us,” said Doug Herzog, pres of Viacom’s MTVN Ent Group. He and other execs spoke at the Hollywood Radio & Television Society’s “Cable Chiefs 2007” luncheon Thurs. “Our content travels terrifically over all of these video platforms,” he continued. “We’re very happy to be out there. We just feel we need to be paid.” Ted Harbert, pres/CEO of Comcast Ent Group, however, suggested content owners can’t expect to benefit from the exposure YouTube and other such sites generate without giving up some control. “Do you want the brand extension?” he asked. “Or are you going to have your legal department send out 8 million cease-and-desist letters?” Harbert also joked that Viacom chmn Sumner Redstone’s quest to get paid is “because he needs it so badly.” Bonnie Hammer, pres of USA and Sci-Fi, said the desire to get maximum exposure must be balanced with “a certain amount of constraint,” while Abbe Raven, pres/CEO of A&E TV Networks, said “we have to play a little loose here with experimenting with other platforms. And the smart companies are doing it.” Showtime chmn/CEO Matt Blank said non-advertising supported nets like his might “feel more comfortable in this world than others” but “everybody sees what happened to the music business. And we don’t want to be there.”

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