NBC did an about face this month when the company announced plans to make promotional clips of the network’s shows available on YouTube. Previously, they had demanded that clips (posted by others) be taken down due to copyright violations. Now, in addition to posting their own clips, NBC apparently will also start advertising on the YouTube site.
What caused the turn around? Maybe it was the 13 million unique visitors each month. If NBC’s content was already appearing on the site, then clearly there was some demand for it. And it’s better to have control over the content and quality of the posted clips, rather than rely on images that someone captured off their television screen with a Web cam.
I see three important points in this story. First, content producers continue to explore new avenues for distribution and promotion, and the Web is playing an expanded role in this experimentation. Next, it would appear that as much as people seem to love the shaky, poorly-exposed, oddly-composed videography of the home-brewed clips that launched YouTube and similar sites, the novelty may be wearing off a little and demand for more polished, professional production values are creeping back in. But most of all, it looks as though my theories about the “iPodding” of video are becoming reality as people want to take more control over what they watch, and where, and when.