At the moment, nobody's figured out exactly how traditional television programming is going to adapt to the internet. Simply trying to replicate the TV business model online will almost certainly be a failure, but beyond that, companies need to keep experimenting. At a recent conference, NBC Universal chief digital officer George Kliavkoff mused that perhaps the company will webcast Friday night rehearsals of Saturday Night Live. This is a pretty sharp idea, as it's easy to imagine people wanting to watch something like this, for the same reason that people buy DVDs for their extra content. Depending on your view of the current state of SNL, it could easily be more entertaining than the show itself. That's a lesson the show should have learned earlier this year, when the popularity of an online clip briefly got people talking about the show again. Of course, NBC's lawyers promptly put an end to all this free publicity. Importantly, doing something like webcasting rehearsals would be an experiment that acknowledges the potential for the internet to augment the traditional offering. It's also really interesting to note that George Kliavkoff came to the company from MLB.com, where he had similar duties. MLB.com has gone further than many media companies in using the internet to its advantage, though it's still made some really bad decisions. Who would have guessed that an organization for America's oldest pastime would become such a breeding ground for thinking about new media?
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