NBC and YouTube, strange bedfellows indeed

Okay, so I’m torn on this announcement that NBC is getting into bed with YouTube to promote its fall line-up. On the one hand, I feel the network has likely had an awakening about the foolishness of yanking the “Lazy Sunday” clip earlier this year, and that would be good news. On the other hand, however, there appears to be much more in it for NBC than YouTube users, so what’s to feel good about?

“The distinction between television and video is becoming murkier and murkier,” said John Miller, chief marketing officer for the NBC Universal Television Group. “Rather than putting our heads in the sand and saying this doesn’t exist, we’re trying to jump in and embrace it.” (Congratulations!)

…Under the deal, YouTube will create a separate channel for NBC video, so that visitors can easily pull up the half-dozen or more items that NBC plans to offer at any given time. It will be similar to channels that other companies, filmmakers and everyday users create.

NBC and YouTube officials acknowledged the possibility that fans will reject the clips if they appear simply as promotions, but YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley said fans would likely embrace the video if it is compelling and not available anywhere else. (Does everyone see the problem?)

The network says the deal will highlight scenes and promos of upcoming shows (who really gives a ripple chip?) and internet-only clips (behind-the-scenes) from shows, like “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” The only thing really exclusive to YouTube is a contest for users regarding the show “The Office,” which NBC is hoping will go viral and create viewers for the show itself.

So this “deal” is a pretty creative and smart move by NBC, although one has to try very hard to see it as anything other than another attempt to control the interactive genie.

Oh, by the way, the deal also puts in writing that YouTube won’t use copyrighted NBC material without their permission — clips like “Lazy Sunday” — which introduced the network to the realities of word-of-mouth-marketing in the first place.

And so it goes…


  1. A half-assed agreement if ever I saw one. YouTube gets nothing, NBC thinks people will watch its promos (commercials, really) and is still trying to dictate its own terms for viewers. Even the contest is burdened by silly rules: make a promo for “The Office,” but you can’t use any video from “The Office.” Way to embrace the audience…

  2. YouTube gets promotion on television and NBC will buy ads on YouTube. That’s more than they got the last time.

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