Lorne Michaels Hearts YouTube

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It makes sense that Lorne Michaels, creator and executive producer of NBC’s Saturday Night Live, would like YouTube. The site’s users’ appetite for funny clips brought SNL a much-needed boost of cultural relevance. And as Techdirt points out, it’s a synergistic relationship; SNL’s smash hit Lazy Sunday short put YouTube on the map in late 2005.

But it’s nice to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth:

“I think that YouTube is great, because if you do something like ‘Dick in a Box,’ someone in Pakistan can see it,” Michaels told the New York Observer, in an article covering some of the “where embeds go to die” material we at NewTeeVee love to retread.

Michaels said he personally helps select SNL clips for NBC to feature on YouTube.

“I think it should be clear, I don’t quite understand what NBC is doing with Fox,” said Mr. Michaels. “It sounds—” Mr. Michaels paused. “Cool. But it all seems like it’s still shaking out.”

“I think it’s simple for me,” said Mr. Michaels. “If the work is good, I want the most number of people to see it—period. Anything that leads to that would be my objective.”

“The creators obviously want the biggest possible audience,” added Mr. Michaels. “And lawyers have another agenda.”

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Barlow Keener

One of the largest expenses for television is advertising its own shows. It is estimated that network television uses 25% of advertising time to promote its own shows. Networks do not use this time because there are no advertisers willing to pay for empty slots but rather to promote their shows which in turn draw the advertisers. Youtube offers the networks “free” advertising for the same shows. Common sense says that YouTube should be charging the networks for clips showing up, not the other way around.

The same is true with movies and trailers. One of the largest uncontrollable expenses for a movie is marketing. It is only good business to turn to the internet with its low-cost opportunities like YouTube to post trailers and clips of movies. Again, YouTube should be charging for this “free” advertising, rather than the movie producers being concerned about diluting their intellectual property rights.

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