SNL Planning Its Own Video Site

NBC is looking to launch a new standalone Saturday Night Live video site built from clips of the comedy show, writes Broadcasting & Cable today. The proposed site would features sketches from the SNL catalog, as well as dress rehearsal stuff that never made it to air and original bits developed for the web.

Evidently, the idea for an SNL video site kicked into high gear after those involved saw how popular the show’s clips were on Hulu. More likely they saw how those popular videos could be monetized on Hulu, as SNL “Digital Shorts” like Lazy Sunday and D*ck in a Box helped revitalize SNL‘s comedy brand in recent years — but didn’t make them a dime after millions of YouTube plays.

There are reportedly three concerns about launching an SNL site. First, most of the show’s recent ratings increase can be attributed to the election, which will be over by the time any site could be built. Second is the ability to get legal clearances for classic sketches (especially those involving music). And finally there is the question all video sites face — could it generate enough money?

Those are valid concerns, but they pale in comparison to the opportunity the web presents Saturday Night Live. As noted, its biggest hits in recent years became so only after appearing on the web. The web could also provide the show with a farm team for sketches.

Show producer Lorne Michaels is also producer of the new Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Michaels has said that Fallon’s show will appear online first in order to find its groove and have a chance to work out the kinks before going on TV. Applying the same strategy to Saturday Night Live could actually improve the show, offering an opportunity to find out which characters and actors are appealing to audiences before they junk up the limited time available to each show on oldteevee.