NBC Pounding YouTube Motherlovers

Opts for controlled branding over viral exposure

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Saturday Night Live fans were treated to a special Mother’s Day collaboration from pop star Justin Timberlake and resident viral video maven Andy Samberg. But if fans wanted to share that video with others, YouTube was not on NBC’s approved sharing list.

General Electric lawyers must have been very busy Sunday with DMCA takedown notices flying at YouTube and YouTube users so fast they must have developed some sort of script just for that purpose. As of today, what used to be uploads of “Motherlover” are now notices of deletion.

It’s not that NBC doesn’t want fans to share the video with each other. The official video at Hulu, which NBC founded in a joint venture with Fox, still offers fans the ability to embed it or pass the link along. See, I can embed it here (careful, sensitive viewers, it’s dirty):

That’s okay for WebProNews because we’re not YouTube. If we were YouTube, we’d have to take the video Hulu gave us and encouraged us to share right down.

It’s an interesting predicament, one supposes, to be NBC in the Internet age. Fans being able to share your content far and wide is the cheapest and most effective promotion for your shows there is—it may even encourage watching your show on an actual TV, which means bigger audiences, which means you can make more money.

Though you can’t find more potential viewers anywhere than you can on YouTube, if they’re watching on YouTube, they’re obviously not watching on Hulu.

But if that’s the case, why allow people to embed videos at all? Well, I guess one could argue the branding is still in tact when people watch it via a Hulu player. But it still seems counterintuitive to block off the biggest single source of video promotion on the Web just because you’re concerned viewers won’t know NBC produced it. It also seems to go against the very idea of viral marketing.

NBC Pounding YouTube Motherlovers
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  • ted

    I still welcome any and all moves away from the cesspool of click-whoring on youtube.com. This strategy has legs with an established brand, but would be terrible for an upstart. Let’s see how NBC handles their lesser fare on youtube.

  • Guest

    I sent this clip to a friend in Japan, apparently Hulu does not work there…wonder where Hulu is blocked and whether its NBC or the local govts doing the blocking.

    • Guest

      If NBC is going to be so tight-fisted with their copyright on this vid, it would be nice if they would make it viewable by my friends in the UK as well. What’s the point of putting it on the web then restricting viewing to the US? It’s a great vid and it bites not being able to share it with my closest friends.

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