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.

Filed Under: content, lazy sunday, monetizing, rick cotton
Companies: nbc universal, youtube


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  1. identicon
    am, 25 Nov 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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