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December 22, 2006
This Modern IP World; Or "NBC Is Smarter Than CNN"
Remember a little while back when CNN tried to force YouTube to take down an original broadcast of an interview so it could substitute its own lame version? Right, stupid.
Now comes NBC, host of the popular and occasionally risque skit show "Saturday Night Live." Recently the show ran a parody of sappy holiday songs called "Dick in a Box." As you might expect from the title, the song had some bits that weren't exactly censor-friendly and it was edited a bit when originally broadcast. The skit was popular with fans so copies ended up on YouTube. Now the story gets better...
NBC, of course, told YouTube to take down the fan-recorded copies. But instead of just bringing down the hammer (a la CNN) they gave the site a full UNEDITED version to post. Material that couldn't be shown on broadcast TV is included (personally I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but that's not the point of this story).
The point that interests me is that here we have an instance of something I've been arguing for since early Napster days. Big content houses can make use of peer sharing sites to promote brands, build loyalty, expand audiences - all on the cheap and at low risk. NBC has made a very smart move and the contrast with CNN's retrogressive actions only makes that clearer.
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