Has Comedy Central Decided People Have Seen Enough Of Its Shows On YouTube?
from the no-more! dept
Over the past few years, Comedy Central has been very accommodating to people putting their shows up on the web, knowing that it helped get them more publicity. YouTube has been a great source of clips from its most popular shows, from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to The Colbert Report to South Park. In the last year, as the success of YouTube has grown, it’s seemed pretty clear that these clips also helped gain those shows increasing popularity. It gave people who missed last night’s show a way to catch up on the funnier moments, and remind them why they didn’t want to miss the next night’s show. In particular, the producing team behind The Daily Show and The Colbert Report seemed to really appreciate how this worked. Last year, producer Ben Karlin said: “If people want to take the show in various forms, I’d say go. But when you’re a part of something successful and meaningful, the rule book says don’t try to analyze it too much or dissect it…. The one thing that you have control over is the content of the show. But how people are reacting to it, how it’s being shared, how it’s being discussed, all that other stuff, is absolutely beyond your ability to control.”
Of course, that was before Google came into the picture. The media industry has been pretty wary of Google for a while, now, and it looks like Comedy Central’s parent, Viacom, has had enough. Jeff writes in to let us know that YouTube has taken down many of the clips of those three shows at the request of an unknown third party — who it seems reasonable to assume is Viacom (that story claims all clips from those shows are down, but poking around you can still find a few as of this posting). Let’s be totally clear about this: this is absolutely Viacom’s right. They have every right to do this, as Tim Wu noted yesterday. They could keep the clips up for as long as they’d like and then cut them off. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a smart move. It’s much more likely done out of jealousy over Google than any strategic sense. The fact that these clips were on YouTube kept interest in these shows incredibly high and attracted a ton of new interest — which the folks from those shows seemed to understand. After all, South Park became an original success because its clips were passed around online before it was even a TV show. Having the clips online got more people watching them, allowed more discussion about them — and even gave a way for sites like ours to include clips from those shows in our posts. The day after Google announced the YouTube deal, Stephen Colbert joked that since so much of YouTube’s traffic was based on clips of his show (which actually resulted in him starting a challenge that generated a ton of interest), Google obviously owed him a lot of money (yes, amusingly, that clip is still up there). Apparently, that lack of paying up means no more clips — and less publicity for any of those Comedy Central shows. It may be their right, but that doesn’t make it smart.