They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, though one may well wonder if people such as Michael Jackson or Mel Gibson agree with that sentiment. In the cutthroat world of entertainment where far more money is spent on marketing products than in making sure quality product is created, the idea of any publicity being a boon seems natural enough. So then why are so many media conglomerates removing their movies and TV shows from You Tube?
Recently, SNL producer Lorne Michaels challenged NBC’s decision to request that his show’s clips be removed from You Tube, saying that the web site had been responsible for increasing global recognition of the iconic American late night comedy show. Lorne Michaels is absolutely right on target on this one; as usual, the suits at NBC are in the dark. Remember, of course, that these are the same guys who have essentially been trying to kill off the only decent sitcom they’ve had in a decade: Scrubs. What the brothers, uncles, cousins and best friends of the biggest shareholders of stock in GE-er, I mean the executives in charge of programming at NBC-fail to understand along with all the other media owners who are falling over themselves to get their product off You Tube is that far from saving money, they will be losing money.
As far as I can understand, and I certainly don’t presume to possess the necessary synaptic connections that are a necessity for becoming a media executive, the primary reason for making movies and TV shows unavailable on You Tube is that if people have free access to this entertainment, they won’t buy movie tickets or DVDS, or tune in when they appear on television. I’m not a You Tube or iFilm junkie, but I have visited the sites. I think the longest I ever spent watching just one attraction was about ten or fifteen minutes. One time it was a behind the scenes clip about the 90s cartoon Angela Anaconda. Another was a documentary about Russian animation. Oh, and I think I might actually have gotten up to twenty minutes once watching a British documentary about the Iraq war. The point is that for me, at least, the idea of watching these clips on a small computer screen is hardly as fulfilling as watching it on TV or at a theater. In addition, most movie and TV shows uploaded to You Tube are usually just individual scenes. I cannot even fathom the idea of watching an entire sitcom episode on You Tube, much less a feature length film. And something like Zodiac or The English Patient? No way I’m spending over two and a half hours; my eyes would be bloodshot. On the other hand, that little sequence I watched about the Iraq war urged me to seek out the DVD. Scenes from TV shows I’m not familiar with would doubtlessly spur me to seek it out the next time it airs. And movie clips are better promotional items than previews.
It just doesn’t make business sense for any company to remove its product from You Tube. Doing so takes away the only opportunity some may get to see it. Of course, we all know where it’s heading. If you can’t watch SNL on You Tube and the only place you can watch it is on NBC’s version of You Tube, they think they can make even more money by either charging a subscription or else making it available for free but forcing you to sit through a commercial before you can get to it. Not to mention littering the site with advertising.
There is no show on television-not even The Simpsons-that I would be willing to pay a subscription for just so I can watch an episode on my computer. At least not until it gets easier and better to project internet video onto my television. And even then, I’m not so sure. There have been a plethora of reports that companies are not having much luck with their plans to deliver movies and TV shows straight to the computer. That’s because most people really don’t watch those kinds of things on their computers. That little computer screen is fine for enjoying guys in lab coats putting Mentos into Diet Coke bottles or skateboarding accidents, but the technology just isn’t there yet to make watching movies or TV shows a fulfilling experience. You Tube, iFilm and the like are perfect vehicles of advertising entertainment in small doses. Too bad those in charge of that entertainment are just too darn greedy and stupid to realize it.
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