NBC's Rick Cotton Apparently Unable To Properly Monetize Value

from the why-does-he-keep-his-job? dept

I'm beginning to wonder if NBC Universal simply sends General Counsel Rick Cotton out to the press to make the most ridiculous, unsupportable statements for their PR value. Otherwise, you have to wonder how the man keeps his job, as pretty much any of his well-publicized statements should make shareholders question his business acumen. This is the guy who claimed that the government should force ISPs to filter unauthorized content because piracy was causing poor corn farmers to lose money (despite the fact that corn farmers are doing better than ever, and there's no evidence that they're impacted by piracy either way -- people can eat popcorn during pirated movies, too). He also suggested that police would be better off spending less on stopping bank robberies and more on piracy. Seriously. Then he was happy that NBC made it difficult for people to watch the Olympics online.

His latest claim doesn't quite reach the level of some of his earlier statements, but again it has you scratching your head over how he can have the confidence of his bosses. Over the weekend, he was apparently complaining that the only reason YouTube was worth $1.5 billion to Google was because the video of SNL's Andy Samberg "Lazy Sunday." He claims that YouTube received all of the benefit of this piracy, which catapulted it to stardom.

First of all, this simply isn't true. As a YouTube representative who follows Cotton noted, the Lazy Sunday video is pretty much impossible to pick out of YouTube's log files, since it had such little impact on traffic. But, more importantly, this is yet another case of a content provider overvaluing the content and undervaluing the delivery platform. Cotton seems to ignore the fact that the Lazy Sunday video on YouTube almost single-handedly brought a ton of people back to SNL after having given the show up. It made people pay more attention to SNL, in particular other Samberg videos.

Furthermore, if it's actually true that NBC got no value out of Lazy Sunday being on YouTube, then the entire NBC management team deserves to be fired. It was such a fantastic opportunity to rebuild SNL's brand, and here's one of the company's top executives flat-out admitting that he blew it. He really wants people to believe that he's so inept that a tiny startup with barely any revenue could capitalize on something that he could not? It's either amazing what poor vision NBC's management has, or it's just stunning that Cotton keeps his job.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2008 @ 3:30pm

    Story Based TV Shows

    Anybody notice that one of the biggest hits on NBC, Heroes, is so sequential that if you miss an episode you will probably not watch the show the next time it airs unless you can see what you missed?

    And NBC doesn't offer the entire current season on its website. You'd think that they would recognize that people simply can't jump in midseason so they should probably let anyone watch as much as they want to online. But then again see what this post was actually written about and you can understand how it happens, if not why it happens.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2008 @ 4:22pm

    SNL got better? I gave up on that show years ago.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    am, Nov 25th, 2008 @ 4:33pm

    although i can't speak to any increase in traffic, i do know Lazy Sunday was a watershed moment for youtube. the night it aired, i put it up on my website. it never even occurred to me to put it on youtube, because YT had no audience at the time. within a few days, YT became the place to see the video. amd then youtube became THE place to upload such stuff and i and other folks I know (bloggers) just stopped uploading stuff to personal sites. this "cultural" shift eventally led to higher numbers (and a higher valuation) for YT.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    robin, Nov 25th, 2008 @ 4:57pm

    over-valued content

    "But, more importantly, this is yet another case of a content provider overvaluing the content and undervaluing the delivery platform."

    here's another:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/23/business/media/23eisner.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1& ;th&emc=th&pagewanted=all

    'bout halfway down the article, mr. eisner states quite clearly:

    "Today, without shareholders to worry about, he is driven by his creative impulses and an almost messianic belief that movies and TV shows and videos are more valuable in the long run than the pipes over which they are delivered.

    "It’s always the content that defines the platform,” he says. Now the platform owners are “being arrogant and saying, ‘we’re it,’” he adds. “But eventually exclusive content wins out.”

    maybe mr. cotton and mr. eisner share an alma mater somewhere. hehe. aar, they are being seriously left behind.

     

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  5.  
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    Trails (profile), Nov 25th, 2008 @ 6:26pm

    Jeez, techdirt

    Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel.

    Seriously though, thanks for the chuckle.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 25th, 2008 @ 10:08pm

    It's The Connectivity, Stupid!

    robin quoted:

    "It’s always the content that defines the platform,” he says. Now the platform owners are “being arrogant and saying, ‘we’re it,’” he adds. “But eventually exclusive content wins out.”

    The Internet has never been about content, but about connectivity--what attracts people to it is that it's the single biggest place to get connected to other people.

    A lot of the proprietary alternatives to the Internet in the early days didn't appreciate this--CompuServe, the original AOL, MSN in its original form. Who still remembers Quark pushing Immedia as an alternative to the World-Wide Web? They all thought their content would bring the Internet to them. In the end it was they who had to go to the Internet.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Jacob, Nov 25th, 2008 @ 11:46pm

    Re: It's The Connectivity, Stupid!

    A lot of the proprietary alternatives to the Internet in the early days didn't appreciate this--CompuServe, the original AOL, MSN in its original form. Who still remembers Quark pushing Immedia as an alternative to the World-Wide Web? They all thought their content would bring the Internet to them. In the end it was they who had to go to the Internet.

    That's fantastic analogy, Lawrence. So true, so true.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    farkus, Nov 26th, 2008 @ 8:45am

    Lazy Sunday brought me back

    Lazy Sunday and I Ran brought me back to SNL. It was a dying show until Samberg. So hopefully NBC will realize that. Good points though.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    ratbag, Nov 27th, 2008 @ 8:32am

    NBC's GC: How does he keep his job?

    Oh yeah! Gotta love him...he's known as Rotten Cotton internally...Apparently, his mom never told him: "it's better to be silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

     

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