Power of You Tube

I have been reading about how NBC Universal and News Corp want to dethrone YouTube and Google as kings of internet video. I think this is pretty funny. I have the feeling that people at NBC and News Corp have no idea what makes YouTube successful. Google did not even have a good idea so they bought them. I think Hollywood thinks they can dictate what will be successful. I think that would be a big mistake. I have some advice for this new site. I know that Hollywood is not good at taking advice, but I will give it anyway.

1) On the internet Short is Big

There is a line from the story that jumped right out at me.

When it launches in the summer, the new venture will feature thousands of hours of full-length TV shows and videos for free on AOL, MSN, MySpace and Yahoo shortly after they appear on television networks.

The networks have to remember that there is more than one way to show the same show. When it comes to shows like The Tonight Show, Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, Family Guy, make sure you cut the shows into segments. It is often single joke of segments that people want to see. If there is a really funny skit on Saturday Night Live, let me see just that skit. Don't make me see the whole show to see it. This is why the Daily Show has been so popular on You Tube.

2) Viral is King

To be honest, the networks do not do a good job at getting me to watch network shows. They also do not do a good job of getting me to network websites. Let me do an exchange table for you.

1 conversation about a clip on the internet = 10 emails about that clip
1 email from a friend = 10 friends blog posts
1 Friends blog post is = 10 Strangers blog posts
1 stranger blog post is = 10 mentions in the media
1 mention in the media = 100 promos on TV.

As much as the promos during the Daily Show tell me to visit their web site, it takes people telling me about "The Internet is not a Dump Truck" for me to visit it. A friend telling me I will like something carries a lot more weight than some network shill telling me it is really cool.

The other important thing about Viral Marketing is that the public decides what is good. The site just puts the clips up and people get to make up their mind. The problem with network TV is that people feel they have no input into the programing. The site just needs to give the users the tools to decide what to watch.

3) Give me Something Special

Since you own the show you can give people extra content. A site like this is the perfect place for special features. Behind the scenes, director commentary, extra content, deleted scenes, alternate endings. All of those things you can try out here. As a bonus you can reuse this footage for the DVDs later.

4) User Control is Important

If I was to run one of these sites, I would give the users a lot of power. The ability to link to the content is really important. That is my biggest problem with the Comedy Central site. I cannot get to specific content.

You also need to give users the ability to embed content on blogs and other web sites. This will help your users find and share content. The long tale is all about users helping users find content. Hollywood should not look past that. This is a great way to leverage content.

If I was running one of these sites, I would give the users the ability to upload content. They should be able to upload their content and parody content. Content like Nobody's Watching would be perfect. It would be great to see Nobody's Watching 24 parody next to actual 24 content.

I would even give users the ability to upload my content to the site. If I was running a site for the Tonight Show or Late Night, I would let the users decide what clips should be up there. Let them be part of the action and they will market for you. I think this is one of the keys that makes You Tube compelling.

I know Hollywood will not take any of my advice. I know that the average marketer will not agree with any idea that is not their idea. Knowing all that, I am still willing to give my advice for free.


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