Love or Hate YouTube?

No, not you silly. NBC I mean.In December last year, YouTube broke away from its competitors (such as iFilm) by showing stuff from Saturday Night Live. NBC came along and asked them to remove the SNL and Olympics clips. Uh Oh I hear you say. Yes, we nearly had a Napster on our hands with…

No, not you silly. NBC I mean.
In December last year, YouTube broke away from its competitors (such as iFilm) by showing stuff from Saturday Night Live. NBC came along and asked them to remove the SNL and Olympics clips. Uh Oh I hear you say. Yes, we nearly had a Napster on our hands with YouTube. But the TV/video industry is quicker on the uptake than the music industry. Look at what happened yesterday! NBC jumping into bed with YouTube is like, well, Coca Cola and U2 pulling up the covers with Negativland. Oh wait. They did that!

Press Releases (from YouTube site)
NBC And YouTube Announce Strategic Partnership
Companies Team Up in Ground-Breaking, Promotional Relationship And Innovative Advertising Agreement

BURBANK, Calif. and SAN MATEO, Calif. – June 27, 2006 – NBC and YouTube, Inc. today announced a strategic partnership that will combine NBC’s quality programming with YouTube’s vast audience to enhance the entertainment experience on YouTube while engaging viewers in innovative new ways to promote NBC’s Fall program lineup and other preferred shows over the next year. The agreement also includes an integrated, cross-promotional advertising relationship on the YouTube service and significant on-air promotion provided by NBC. (more)

Additionally, NBC will launch a contest for its hit comedy “The Office” (Thursdays, 9:30-10 p.m. ET) where people can submit their own creative 20-second promotional videos to NBC’s YouTube Group ( NBC will publicize the campaign on air regularly during the first three weeks of the contest, encouraging YouTube users to enter. User-generated videos must be compelling and entertaining and create interest for potential viewers to watch “The Office.” Examples can be seen in the NBC YouTube Group.

From Staci at

YouTube’s unofficial distribution of SNL’s “Lucky Lazy Sunday” skit helped raise the show’s profile and gave NBC a taste of the power of viral video. It also put the NBCU lawyers to work. The next batch of NBC material on YouTube shouldn’t bring C&D letters because now the two are working together. Will NBC’s content be as popular on YouTube when it’s legal — and when it’s limited to promo material, including marketing for the fall season? This time YouTube gets more out of it than bandwidth costs … NBCU will buy ads on the site and promote the site on television. WSJ has lots of details for those with subscriptions.

I’m intrigued to see how TV will combine their medium with online communities (nah, pressing the red button just doesn’t do it for me). And driving the viewers away from their TV to the PC is just madness in my book. *shrugs* but maybe we’ll start to see more user-gen on TV, of a higher calibre than Funniest Home Videos? Hope so.

Some YouTube facts (or factoids, after all I gathered ’em from the ‘net so who knows?*shrugs*). Started in February 2005 by 3 employees of PayPal, raised 3.5m capital from Sequoia in November last year, and another 8 million in April. Sequoia now accounts for around 10% of the NASDAQ capital. 32 people on staff currently. Costs: around 1 million a month for bandwidth (why aren’t telcos with both broadband and 3G up front and centre to support these guys?). They have enough in the bank to keep going for a year. Some people claim that they have no revenue model at the moment. Nor did Google in the beginning. But I see it quite clearly. User generated content at the bottom, pulling in the crowds. Include good viral marketing campaigns in that. The Directors Program for longer running, good quality stuff that has ads in it, or other promotional stuff, bringing in revenue from advertising. Then an iTunes style store for purchasing the must-see TV series. Make it easy and cheap, and they’ll pay (iTunes shows that, doesn’t it? Anyone have the numbers handy?).

Anytime you are considering building an online community with user generated content at the heart and aren’t sure how to charge, consider that three tiered structure.
1.User Gen volume (free)
2. better quality with ads (free to user, charge advertiser) or you could just offer a premium service with the ability to upload larger file sizes, less waiting/queing time
3. professional (charge user)
People will download from somewhere where they are familiar with the technology/system and where they are familiar with the people (its a community after all) and they don’t mind paying a little for that convenience, especially when they have standing in the community and are rewarded. But make it too hard or too expensive or abuse them with too many ads, and they’ll leave. Also, get some income from mobiles:

      Uploading and sharing video is easy, and requires the following:
      -A mobile device that can take video and send Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) messages, a technology that allows people to create, send and receive text messages that also include an image, audio and/or video clip;
      -Internet access or a data plan from a service provider. YouTube currently supports uploads from the Cingular, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon wireless networks; and
      -A YouTube member account

YouTube To Go (PDA and mobile phone uploads) should be getting a cut of the mobile connection I reckon. If the model works for calling psychics on a hotline, why doesn’t YouTube do a similar deal with a phone company for users to upload their fotos? Enter into cross promotional deals, whatever. After all, until the mobile content is the main content, and while the telecomms are struggling to get users to use their phones for content generation and transfer, why not actively pursue deals in that area? Thats what I’d do, I reckon. What would you do with a site that had 30 million downloads a day? (besides lose sleep over bandwidth costs)

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