Lorne Michaels Wishes NBC Would Put More Of SNL On YouTube

from the why-listen-to-the-talent? dept

Just as Viacom employee Jon Stewart appears to believe his bosses are making a mistake in taking Viacom content off of YouTube, it looks like NBC employee and Saturday Night Live creator and producer, Lorne Michaels can't understand NBC's position on YouTube (found via GoogleWatch). The interview of Michaels is especially interesting, because it was a Saturday Night Live clip of the infamous "Lazy Sunday" music video that is often credited with putting YouTube on the map. At the same time, however, almost everyone admitted that it did wonders in revitalizing SNL's reputation (as well as boosting Andy Samberg's reputation to new heights). Yet, NBC's lawyers shot it down, limiting the benefit to SNL. It appears that Michaels understands that, and says he wishes they could put more of the show on YouTube: "YouTube has been great for us." He also understands the promotional aspect of YouTube: "I think it's simple for me. 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." As for NBC's new deal with News Corp to distribute videos: "I think it should be clear, I don't quite understand what NBC is doing with Fox." Apparently, the lawyers and decision makers at these entertainment companies never bothered to talk to those who actually understand what the audience wants. When your decisions are driven less by pleasing your audience and more out of some kind of fear of changing business models, you know your strategy is doomed.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  •  
    identicon
    Captain Obvious, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 3:26pm

    So Lorne Michaels is going to start working for fr

    Why is it that so many people find it hard to understand how mass media production works and that idea that "the talent" and the content owners might in fact have differing agendas? Jon Stewart does not own The Daily Show; Lorne Michaels does not own SNL. Neither of them suffer any appreciable loss of income if all of the show episodes are available for free online and they are probably enriched by having a larger group of people aware of their name/reputation/work and from the attendant publicity. The people who actually do own the content (e.g. the one who ultimately sign Jon and Lorne's paychecks) are the ones who are losing out on the advertising revenue.

    The reason the lawyers and decision makers are not doing what you think the audience wants is because what the audience wants it more of the same but for free. Perhaps if Mr. Michaels or Mr. Stewart were willing to work for free NBC would consider their thoughts regarding online distribution...

     

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      Mike (profile), Apr 13th, 2007 @ 3:43pm

      Re: So Lorne Michaels is going to start working fo

      Neither of them suffer any appreciable loss of income if all of the show episodes are available for free online and they are probably enriched by having a larger group of people aware of their name/reputation/work and from the attendant publicity

      This is wrong. If, as the entertainment companies insist, they're losing money by doing this, then the shows will go off the air and both Michaels and Stewart will be out of work. That's a significant loss.

      The point is simple: if you are satisfying audiences, there are business models that will work. If your business model is based around going against customer wishes, you'll fail.

      The reason the lawyers and decision makers are not doing what you think the audience wants is because what the audience wants it more of the same but for free.

      This is false. People are more than willing to "pay" for stuff if it offers them value.

      So, no, I believe you are wrong. Pissing off your customers is no way to run a business.

       

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      Moochie, Apr 17th, 2007 @ 7:22am

      Re: So Lorne Michaels is going to start working fo

      Advertising revenue -- now there's an idea.

      We watch SNL on cable -- time delayed. We record it on our PVR, set bookmarks at the end of each commercial break, a process that takes a few seconds. When we actually watch the program, there ain't a commercial in sight.

      Multiply that by dozens of programs and millions of people each week, and you have to ask yourself, who watches commercials?

      The fact is, commercials are the bane of any intelligent viewer's life.

      Since I am the one who "edits" programs to insert bookmarks after commercial breaks, I get to see the commercials flash by at 30X. If something catches my interest, I actually rewind and look at it.

      My message is this: 99.9% of ads hold no interest to me, so I avoid them.

      The paradigm's gotta shift. That's why I watch a lot of vodcasts, because the content is of interest to me, and the ads usually are, too.

      Meanwhile, our PVR gets a lot of use.

      Paul Michieux

       

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      FH, Apr 18th, 2007 @ 9:21am

      Re: So Lorne Michaels is going to start working fo

      UM what the audience wants is something for free????

      When did I last pay for NBC? What we want is convenience and the ability to view where we want. Also they are talking about a sketch online, not a whole show.

       

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      Chris, Feb 20th, 2011 @ 6:52pm

      Re: So Lorne Michaels is going to start working for fr

      Does it completely negate your entire comment to ask why NBC doesn't have a complete catalogue of SNL skits on their own website, thereby receiving all of the advertising revenue?

       

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    Danimal, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 3:35pm

    I was with you...

    I was with you right up to the point you said Lorne Michaels "actually understands what the audience wants." As of late...all evidence is to the contrary, my friend.

     

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    Kenneth Petersen, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 3:49pm

    Re: I was with you...

    I am trying to understand your position on this, Please elaborate, Danimal before the flame-gates open..

     

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    wifezilla, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 3:56pm

    It's so simple

    If you have a library of vids, you
    1) rip them yourself to control qulaity
    2) put your marketing stuff on them telling people where and how to buy a full quality DVD of what they just saw
    3) sell ads that you ad to the beginning and end like they do on the episodes of Jericho you can watch on CBS.com
    4) let as many people who want watch, link or embed your video.

    Or you could just be a stupid corporate tool and act like the lawyers at NBC.

    Totally their call.

     

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    Angryoaf, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 3:57pm

    I think he/she's just saying that SNL sucks. lol

     

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    Danimal, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 4:02pm

    I was with you...

    I don't think it sucks. I honestly don't know if it sucks or not. I don't watch the show anymore. But, if viewership is directly related to "knowing what an audience wants" then declining viewership would tend to answer the question of whether you know or not.

    Maybe you're a fan. I'm sure there are many out there still. I'm sorry if I offended your sensibilities - it was meant a bit tongue-in-cheek.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 4:07pm

    funny thing is i watch nbc for free. I just buy a TV and get some bunny ears.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 4:31pm

    so...

    i want to fly on delta for free.. i'm the customer dammit, you should want to please me, otherwise you'll piss me off...

    mike/joe... you're hilarious!!!

    most kids/customers want things for the cheapest price (free if they can).

    a business works by selling something that the customer wants/needs at the right price.

    if you want to start a biz, and give away your products, good luck. but only in the digital environment does this argument even come up...

    amazing... it's like business logic goes out the window..

    and once again, it's obvious that you've never created a working business, or built any technology of significance...

    but even a fool can write a blog!!

     

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      Mike (profile), Apr 13th, 2007 @ 4:46pm

      Re:

      i want to fly on delta for free.. i'm the customer dammit, you should want to please me, otherwise you'll piss me off...

      In your rush to make fun of us, you seem to have misunderstood what we are saying.

      We're not saying that everything needs to be given away for free. In fact, quite the opposite. We've gone into great detail on the difference between scarce and non-scarce goods, and why it makes sense to charge for one and not the other.

      most kids/customers want things for the cheapest price (free if they can).

      Yes, indeed, but they are willing to pay for value -- assuming that the cheapest price is not free. The point is that if it's a non-scarce good, one of your competitors will eventually figure out to price it at $0 and then you're going to be in trouble. But for non-scarce goods, you can price it higher than zero.


      and once again, it's obvious that you've never created a working business, or built any technology of significance...


      Don't make assumptions that make you look ignorant. We're doing quite well with our business, thank you. And, yes, we've built quite a bit of technology that our customers are very happy with. Would you like to speak to some of them?

       

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    Jerslan, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 4:47pm

    How hypocritical

    Odd, NBC seems to have no problem with SciFi Channel (one of it's subsidiary cable stations) posting content on YouTube.

    http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=SCIFIChannel

    It's almost all promotional stuff that you can view from their website for free, but still.. It is a bit hypocritical on their part.

     

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    wifezilla, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 4:52pm

    "if you want to start a biz, and give away your products, good luck. but only in the digital environment does this argument even come up."

    Ever hear of TV? Newspapers? Magazines? Many are free or very inexpensive due to advertiser support. This isn't new, or rocket science. This is a existing multi-million (billion) dollar industry!

    Just somehow, when it goes online (ACK! The Internetweb!!! EEEEKKK!), they want to reinvent the freaking wheel!

    Now can you two just whip em out and I will get the tape measure and we can move on to my previous brilliant post ??

     

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    hexatron, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 5:31pm

    give away your products...

    The product NBC sells is not SNL video.
    The product they sell is the people who watch SNL.
    They sell them to advertisers. That is the business.
    The shows are not their product.
    You might as well say Amazon's business is shipping cardboard boxes.

    Teaming up with Newscorp leaves Newscorp with an interesting problem:
    Do they stab NBC in the upper-back or lower back?
    Decisions. Decisions.

     

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    Brink, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 6:20pm

    business models

    @Hexatron

    Yes, and this is where changing business models comes in, plus as is mentioned, it doesn't hurt their current model either, in the case of SNL it drove more viewers in the end.

    Plus, did Tivo kill the networks? Not really, and who wants to watch super low res stuff on youtube? I'll answer, only people like me who don't watch SNL anymore but USED to. And in this case, you only have a chance of winning them back as viewers (Lazy Sunday is bleh IMO, but still others may be drawn back)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2007 @ 6:49pm

    If I watch SNL on TV, I'll change the channel during commercials. If I watch it on YouTube, I will fast-forward the commercials.

    The current advertising model didn't work, either way. How is it more 'free' online? I'm paying for cable no matter which way I watch it.

     

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    The infamous Joe, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 7:42am

    I getchu mang.

    I think I see the problem here, half of you are talking about getting the videos for free, and the article isn't about that, it's about putting them on youtube.

    I think the videos should be streamed for free on their website, but not allowing youtube to make (supposedly) money off of their shows seems to be a pretty grounded idea.

    To recap:

    Should SNL be available free online? Yes, they can sell ads on their site and still make money just like commercials.

    Is NBC being the big bad wolf when they remove SNL from youtube? I don't think so. youtube makes it's money from ads space just like most similar web sites. No one would get all huffy-puffy about NBC demanding for CBS to remove SNL from their line up, right?

    The solution: NBC put up a month or so of SNL episodes on it's own site, and as they fall out of that time window, allow them to be put up on youtube. Or, better yet, judge by the traffic on each espisode which to archive into a "Hall of Fame" on NBC's site- those that don't make the cut after a month get dumped onto youtube. People probably aren't watching them anyway.

     

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    squik, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 6:26pm

    When your decisions are driven less by pleasing your audience and more out of some kind of fear of changing business models, you know your strategy is doomed

    Nothing is stopping Lorne Michaels from changing his business model. He should stop spending NBC's money. Why doesn't he go out and find a bunch of new comedians (he can't afford the ones on SNL now) and make a webshow that he can support with banner advertising. Then when it appears on YouTube with someone else making the money off of the advertising he can be happy that he is getting even wider distribution.

    It is easy for Lorne Michaels to sit on a big paycheck and a fat budget, then tell the people funding him they should give away the product for free.

     

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      Mike (profile), Apr 14th, 2007 @ 7:19pm

      Re:

      Nothing is stopping Lorne Michaels from changing his business model. He should stop spending NBC's money.

      As per usual, you seem to be missing the point. Lorne Michaels creates a product that makes NBC an awful lot of money -- but it's a product that's struggled, and one great way to build up the audience is to get more people aware that SNL doesn't suck as much as it once did. YouTube has helped to do that.

      Why does everyone assume that because you find out that SNL is good on YouTube again that people will never view it on NBC. That's simply false.

      Lots of TV execs have pointed out that when their shows are popular on YouTube it *increases* the viewers during the actual show on TV which INCREASES the value of the show to advertisers.

      So, one more time: give people what they want, and there's a business model to make money off of it. Try to prevent people from doing what they want and you're doomed to fail.

      Just because folks like Squik are unable to recognize how the business model works, doesn't mean that it doesn't work.

       

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    squik, Apr 14th, 2007 @ 10:49pm

    As per usual, you seem to be missing the point.

    Yeah, I always miss the point when you advocate people give away the rights to their products so that YouTube can make money instead of the owner.

    It may be that viewership will increase if there are clips of shows on YouTube. But it is NBC's choice in how they wish to monetize their content. Frankly, I think it is good for them to control quality and not be associated with the dreck on YouTube.

     

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    identicon
    clayton woodman, Sep 19th, 2007 @ 1:54pm

    please pick me up so i can go home

    i am at tracy hartwicks at the corner of raglan and barrie
    a small stucco duplex with a green railing please have some one pick me up i want to go and work but cant figure out how to get ahold of my assistant partner in life i think i love her and i want to talk to her thats in kingston please help me to succumb clayton

     

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