LA FORA Washington Post
"NBC Taps Popularity Of Online Video Site
By Sara Kehaulani Goo
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 28, 2006; Page D01
Online video company YouTube Inc. said yesterday that it will promote NBC's fall television lineup and sponsor a contest related to a popular network show, signaling a wave of marriages between old-media firms and fledgling video Web sites.
The deal follows an announcement by Warner Bros. on Monday that it will sell downloads of 200 films and TV episodes through Guba, another online video site. The partnerships seek to solve two problems for the entertainment industry: Old-media companies need popular Internet channels to fight declining TV and movie-theater viewership, and Internet video start-ups need a revenue stream to capitalize on their exploding popularity.
NBC will run a contest tie-in between
NBC will run a contest tie-in between "The Office," starring Steve Carell, and online video site YouTube.com. (By Justin Lubin -- Nbc Universal)
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Since the beginning of the year, amateur video clips posted to the Internet have become a huge phenomenon, making online video sites some of the most-visited places on the Internet. YouTube.com says it attracts 20 million unique visitors a month, up from 9 million in April, but it and many competitors are privately funded and are still searching for steady revenue.
For YouTube, which has $11 million in venture capital funding and collects most of its revenue by selling banner ads, the NBC deal is "a key milestone in our company's history," said chief executive Chad Hurley. "It's a clear proof point that we're building a viable, long-term business, and it's showing there's common ground between traditional and new media."
YouTube attracted attention this year for spreading a popular online video that was illegally plucked from NBC's "Saturday Night Live" program. The clip depicted comedians rapping in a skit called "Lazy Sunday" and as it spread, it helped thousands of Internet users learn that they could share video as easily as forwarding an e-mail.
At the time, NBC executives demanded that YouTube remove the video from its site. But then, seeing its popularity, NBC posted the same video on its own Web site. "The fact that ["Lazy Sunday"] virally spread like wildfire, that clearly told us something -- that we could maybe duplicate that and create promos that people could share. The mechanism was there," said John Miller, chief marketing officer for NBC Universal Television Group. Now, he said, "we want to fully embrace the viral activity that YouTube embraces."
Financial details of the YouTube-NBC deal were not disclosed. YouTube agreed to set up an NBC page on its Web site on which viewers can watch commercials and other features, such as interviews with actors, for six programs on NBC's fall lineup and other programs including "Saturday Night Live" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." In exchange, NBC will promote YouTube on TV with a contest that encourages viewers to submit funny videos of their office environments to YouTube.com. NBC will air the winner's video in conjunction with the sitcom "The Office.""