NBC on YouTube

By December 19, 2006

I realize this isn’t breaking news to anyone, but as I was watching a clip from last Saturday’s SNL, I was struck by how far we’ve come. It wasn’t that long ago that broadcasters like NBC were asking to have their copyrighted materials removed from Web sites like YouTube. Now they are embracing the new medium. (Background)

After being told about a funny spoof video from this weeks’ SNL that I missed, I logged on to YouTube where I found it was the number one viewed video of the day. The real beauty of it is the fact that YouTube was able to show an uncensored version of the Digital Short that wasn’t allowed to air. And in doing so, they’ve racked up almost 1,000,000 views. Because it was never broadcast, without NBC’s participation that version of the video would have never been seen.

Visiting the NBC profile on YouTube shows an interesting video promoting a new show by Carson Daily called It’s Your Show which takes the user generated videos and makes a TV show out of them with a $100,00 cash prize. While Bob Sagat actually beat Carson by a good 15 years, I think it’s a signal of change. Where once record companies and even bands were suing Napster users (no, Metallica, I’m not still bitter about you having my account cancelled), now every major label has deals with one or more of the online music Web sites. Television networks like NBC and CBS are now encouraging their users to view their content outside of the traditional television time slot. Not only is it Life After the 30 Second Spot for advertisers, it’s becoming Life After the 30 minute Sitcom for networks. I’ve said for months now that Comedy Central has to be the best network on television. Not because they have the best programs, although they do have some really funny stuff, but because of their Motherload site where you can view almost every episode of every show they have.

For those of us who have hoped this day would come, it’s been a long 5 years, but the media companies take a while to come around. At least they eventually do.

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