YouTube, The L.A. Times & The Emmys

Silly me … until I got my latest Emmy update from LAT’s, it hadn’t occurred to me I could watch nominated episodes at YouTube. Carefully posted in segments that don’t break the 10-minute limit, high-quality, commercial-free versions of dozens of popular broadcast, cable and premium cable shows are easily viewable. I’ve watched part of the Entourage Sundance episode and a segment from Grey’s Anatomy while working out how to write about it.
As far as I know, with the exception of an episode of 24 on MySpace as part of a promo, none of the episodes are online with permission. Many of them, if not all, are coming out on DVD; most are in re-runs or entering syndication. Some are available to buy as downloads. We can argue until the next season of the Sopranos about whether or not it benefits more than harms the networks for the shows to be up there. What isn’t arguable is that while the top executives of YouTube were rubbing elbows and talking network deals in Sun Valley this week, their site was flooded with network content their own terms of use says shouldn’t be there.
The other noteworthy aspect for me was the way I found the episodes — or didn’t have to find them. The availability is being promoted at TheEnvelope by Tom O’Neil, who founded award site Gold Derby and sold it to the LAT, as the way to see the episodes and start the conversation before the Emmy judges get their screening DVDs next week. He’s referring to a participant in the Gold Derby forums at who very carefully posted links episode by episode, segment by segment. O’Neil doesn’t question whether the episodes belong there or not; his focus, at least in this post, is on his community’s conversation about who does/doesn’t deserve to win. What he may not have realized is that the videos actually appear to have been posted on YouTube — 400-plus segments in the past four days — by the person who posted the links. It’s an impressive amount of painstaking effort.
Update: The number of “Emmy” segments posted rose to nearly 500 over the weekend. These aren’t the only prime-time episodes that can be found through YouTube but I haven’t found a collection yet that matches. … Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports, said Sunday at TCA that the network may have overeacted when it demanded that YouTube remove a CBS News clip and “probably should have embraced the publicity.” Wonder if CBS would feel the same about full episodes of Two and a Half Men or The King of Queens.