Thanks to Lost Remote for highlighting the sparks starting to fly between traditional media (NBC) and web 2.0, participatory, social network, user generated content media (YouTube). Twice in a week NBC have put the pressure on YouTube to remove items placed there by viewers that originated on NBC. The first Lost Remote “Lazy Sunday” item from last week demonstrates where the eyeballs actually are:

So you’d think NBC would be grateful to YouTube for providing some of the best viral publicity in the history of TV? Nope. Last week, YouTube said NBC asked them to pull the copyrighted clip off the site, and they complied.

We can expect to see much more of this shifting audience sands as they drift from scheduled media (or perceived as establishment media) and re-distribute, filter, highlight where it previously wasn’t – in on-demand, sharing portals. The second brush reported by CBS news happened yesterday after the real ‘rain man’esque’ story again ended up on video broadband portals.

The “Evening News” wasn’t the only place the story got heavy play. It exploded on the Web, with featuring McElwain on the homepage even through today and the blogs buzzing about the “incredibly powerful” story. Many of the blogs weren’t linking to Steve Hartman’s story on, however, which featured the full video of his story. Instead, they were linking to YouTube, which bills itself as “a consumer media company for people to watch and share original videos worldwide.” Someone had uploaded the “Evening News” story to Youtube, complete with Bob Schieffer’s introduction, and it became the most viewed video of the week. At last check, more than 1 million people had watched the “Evening News” piece there.
One might argue this is a good thing for CBS News, since it gets the “Evening News” in front of a million people, many of whom don’t watch the program. But it also raises copyright questions that have not gone unnoticed. CBS News, after all, would love to see that million people head to its own site, not least because increased traffic means increased advertising revenue. NBC recently saw a similar phenomenon with its “Lazy Sunday” clip from Saturday Night Live, which became a viral hit on the Web. NBC’s lawyers eventually forced YouTube to take the “Lazy Sunday” video down. YouTube wrote the following on its blog: “We know how popular that video is but YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders. You can still watch SNL’s Lazy Sunday video for free on NBC’s website.”

So how is this amazing transition to democratised on-demand going to pan out? What we have is a dying scheduled environment occassionally putting out some interesting fragments of content that millions want to see and share through more and more trusted broadband video-on-demand portals. The real friction seems to be the fact that the scheduled commercial broadcasters would rather have those millions flocking to their ad rich sites to download the items (pre or post tx). But that strikes me somewhat similar to the difference between the numbers you have flocking around the ‘cheap’ bargain bin, sale stores in the mall vs those few who mingle in the up market parades looking for some unique items. What we are also seeing is a frustrated jealousy on the part of the traditional aggregators against those video portals they see I suspect in a similar way the record companies saw the likes of and napster a few years ago. The long tail means audiences are moving like ants around media, picking up morsels here and there. It also means like ants, you will find it more and more difficult to get them all to stop and pay attention at the same time. Enough late night metaphors. Expect to see more than sparks in this amazing year of transition – a few fires will spring up, the strange thing is we know already the ones likely to get burnt if they stand in the line of fire.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006