NBC Proud That It Made It More Difficult For People To Watch The Olympics

from the really-didn't-think-this-through dept

We've already explained how screwed up NBC's Olympic coverage policy on the web turned out to be. Its use of proprietary technology and annoying restriction severely limited its online audience -- even though the company admitted that its own research found that the more people watched online, the more they watched it on TV as well. So, given all that, you have to wonder why NBC Universal's Rick Cotton is somehow claiming a "victory" in preventing other sites from showing Olympics coverage. After all, his own company admitted that online viewing didn't cannibalize TV viewing, but only encouraged more of it. By that measure, Cotton's efforts to prevent clips of the Olympics being shared elsewhere on the web actually shrunk NBC's audience. Yet, according to Cotton: "It was a great, great success." Then again, this is the same Rick Cotton who once tried to convince Congress that it had to stop movie piracy to help poor corn farmers and claimed that no one at NBC Universal could come up with a working business model for TV content without government help, so logic might not be a strong point.

Filed Under: olympics, piracy, rick cotton, web video
Companies: nbc universal


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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 16 Sep 2008 @ 1:07pm

    Re:

    But I don't understand the logic behind advocating that anyone should be able to snag anyone else's content and display it as their own. "...his own company admitted that online viewing didn't cannibalize TV viewing..." - but that doesn't mean that they want other online outlets to cannibalize from their own online content.

    You missed the part where the online viewership actually INCREASED television viewership, which is where the big money actually was. So, in keeping the video off other sites, it likely decreased television viewership, decreasing ad revenue.

    TechDirt always seems to have this stance, but I doubt they would like it if I took their articles, fed them onto my own site, put up my own discussion forum under each article, then brought in a little ad revenue based on the traffic. Is this not a comparable scenario, or am I missing some key point?

    Sure, that's a comparable situation, and you are free to do so. It probably wouldn't work very well for you, and, if anything would likely drive more traffic to us.

    I've said it before (http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20070412/183135#c612) so I'll just cut and paste:

    Yup. And as we've said repeatedly, we have no problem with people taking our content and reposting it. It's funny how many people come here, like yourself, and assume you've found some "gotcha." You haven't. There already are about 10 sites that copy Techdirt, post for post. Some of them give us credit. Some of them don't. We don't go after any of them.

    Here's why:

    1. None of those sites get any traffic. By itself, they offer nothing special.

    2. If anything, it doesn't take people long to read those sites and figure out that the content is really from Techdirt. Then they just come here to the original source. So, it tends to help drive more traffic to us. That's cool.

    3. As soon as the people realize the other sites are simply copying us, it makes those sites look really, really bad. If you want to risk your reputation like that, go ahead, but it's a big risk.

    4. A big part of the value of Techdirt is the community here. You can't just replicate that.

    5. Another big part of the value of Techdirt is that we, the writers, engage in the comments. You absolutely cannot fake that on your own site.

    So, really, what's the purpose of copying our content, other than maybe driving a little traffic our way?

    So, if you really want to, I'd suggest it's pretty dumb, but go ahead.

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