YouTube For Grass Roots Sitcom Revival… Or A Way To Get Some Press?

from the either-or dept

About two weeks ago, Engadget had a column talking about how a sitcom that no TV station wanted had shown up on YouTube. The column discussed how perhaps shows could be launched this way in the future. The article was interesting, and the sitcom pilot was mildly amusing — but it wasn’t at all clear where this story came from. It doesn’t say who had posted the video to YouTube, or how the Engadget writer, Stephen Speicher, had all the details about the show. If anything, it sounded very placed by a PR effort, rather than a real grassroots revival of a show that never went anywhere. It took about a week and a half for a similar article to show up in the NY Times as well, once again talking about how YouTube may have brought this sitcom back to life. However, the show really hasn’t received that many viewers, and it really doesn’t seem so much about a real YouTube “hit” as much as a case where the show was put on YouTube and then almost immediately fed to various folks in the press as a “story.” It’s nice to think that TV shows could get a better sense for success or failure by making use of such online video platforms — but it’s not clear that’s what really happened here. Instead, like PR people who used to put things on eBay solely for the publicity, it sounds like the story is really how some savvy folks recognized that having the show on YouTube would make for a story the press couldn’t resist. Update: The folks from Engadget have reasonably taken exception to the idea that they were taken by some PR person. My apologies for not doing a great job explaining myself and for unfairly making Engadget look like a PR mouthpiece. That wasn’t my intention. What struck me was the idea of using any kind of “success” on YouTube as a potential storyline to get the press interested, similar to what has been done in the past on eBay. I don’t think it makes it any less of a story either way. In the meantime, multiple editors at Engadget, as well as the original author, have all made it abundantly clear in a series of emails that this is not how their story came to be, and they don’t appreciate the implication, whether intended or not. So, again, my apologies.

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